The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 104th session, 4-8 October 202, approved a draft IMO Assembly resolution consolidating issues related to crew change, access to medical care, ʺkey workerʺ designation and seafarers’ prioritization for COVID-19 vaccination, with a view to adoption at the 32nd session of the IMO Assembly (6-15 December 2021).
On 30 September 2021, IMO and the global maritime community come together to celebrate the annual World Maritime Day, with a focus on this year’s theme: “Seafarers: At the core of shipping’s future”.
The 2021 theme was chosen as part of a year of action for seafarers, who play a vital role as key workers for global supply chains but are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
China has been the epicenter of global trade for many decades and was successful in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak reasonably well.
However, things seem to be getting worse in China with several port and business closures in Yantian, followed by Ningbo due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Reports are circulating that the city of Xiamen is facing an outbreak of COVID-19 forcing residents of Xiamen in China’s Fujian province to go into lockdown as of 13th Sep night after after 32 infections of the highly transmissible Delta variant was detected with most of them being traced back to Putian where the latest outbreak originated.
Berthing delay skyrockets as Ningbo, the 3rd largest ports in the world suspends container terminal operations due to a positive case of COVID-19.
Data provided by project44 confirms that a large volume of container ships are at anchor outside Ningbo-Zhoushan waiting for berth space.
Seafarers are the backbone of the maritime sector. There are an estimated 1,647,500 seafarers serving on various ships globally. Off these, more than 770,000+ are officers and 870,000+ are ratings (non-officer rank).
In terms of ratings, Philippines is the biggest supplier of ratings, followed by China, Indonesia, Russia and Ukraine whereas China is the biggest supplier of officers, followed by the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Russia.
India as the 3rd largest supplier of seafarers in the rank of officers accounts for around 9.35% of the global seafarer population. This makes India a popular destination for crew signing on and off.
While the 2nd wave of COVID-19 continues its onslaught on India in the recent weeks, seafarers who have recently visited India may find themselves in a bit of a pickle especially if their shipping route involves Singapore and they were planning to sign on to the ship at Singapore.
COVAXX and Maersk enter partnership to supply COVID-19 vaccines globally.
The goal is to bring a much needed COVID-19 vaccine to emerging and developing nations. The agreement establishes integrated logistics to enable efficient worldwide distribution of COVAXX’s COVID-19 vaccine. The aim is to distribute up to a billion doses of the COVAXX synthetic vaccine worldwide in 2021.
IMO has issued updated protocols to ensure safe crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Framework of Protocols was first issued on 5 May 2020 and has now been revised, with the principle purpose of emphasizing the need for compliance and strict adherence with COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements, reflecting that these are now a reality in many national jurisdictions.
Passenger and repatriation flights are essential to allow stranded seafarers to go home, and for their relief crews to be able to join ships. New guidance issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to facilitate those flights marks a further step to alleviate the ongoing crew change crisis.
Yet another appeal has been sent to Governments to recognize seafarers as keyworkers and address the humanitarian crisis faced by the shipping sector, ensure maritime safety and facilitate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic..
A humanitarian crisis is taking place at sea and urgent action is needed to protect seafarers’ health and ensure the safety of shipping, the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has warned.
In a strong statement issued ahead of the General Assembly of the United Nations, he called on governments to take swift action to resolve the crew change crisis.
Supply chain is often described as the vital and crucial link required to get the product from the manufacturer to the market place for ultimate consumption by the consumers..
While this is a simple enough definition or explanation, it is not as easy as it sounds, especially in specialised industries like Pharmaceuticals..
ShipChain is bringing together some of the experts in the supply chain and pharmaceutical industries to understand the past, present, and future challenges for pharma and medical supply chains in the COVID-19 era..
The expert panelists will examine how supply chains will need to adapt in order to weather the storm caused by this pandemic and the future of pharmaceutical and medical supply chains..
The sheer magnitude and unpredictable nature of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has put even the best, most established businesses on shaky ground.
All the best laid plans have had to be revisited and brought back to the drawing board. Businesses have had to adopt a ‘reactive’ approach and go into fire-fighting mode to stay afloat.
There have been questions like “How can supply chain performance be improved in order to ensure that it is responsive and efficient in meeting the needs of final consumers during the pandemic“.
So, what are the lessons that have been learnt? Are we wiser from our experience of this kind of disruption and can we use these learnings to make our supply chains more resilient?
50% of participants do not use any software for freight management..
This is the result from a Freight Industry Survey that we ran on this site.. The results of the survey seems to highlight the progress that still needs to be made in the industry in this area..
By now, everyone is aware of the plight of the thousands of seafarers around the world who are either stuck onboard ships even after their contract has expired or stuck in countries other than their own due to COVID-19 or in quarantine currently.. It has even resulted in several suicides among seafarers out of sheer desperation..
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it incredibly difficult to facilitate crew changes on ships and despite collaboration and cooperation with many stakeholders in the industry, this problem still remains unresolved and there are still around 200,000 odd seafarers estimated to be trapped on board..
While it is becoming a huge task for any shipowner/manager to get replacement crew, the International Medical Health Association have created an interim paper providing a best practice approach based on common sense to mitigate the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in seafarers joining the ship..
It is alarming when news of suicide attempts, violence and desperation becomes commonplace.
This is, unfortunately, the state of affairs today with seafarers who are tired, on the brink of mental breakdowns (some have already gone over) and very desperate – this desperation is manifesting through various incidents.
Priyanka Ann Saini covers some of these points in this article.