“The restrictions for crew change due to COVID-19 is unsustainable for the safety and wellbeing of over 150,000 seafarers who will require international flights to be changed over to and from the ships they work on from the middle of June 2020. These seafarers are having to extend their service onboard ships after many months at sea, unable to be replaced or repatriated after long tours of duty.”
This is the message from The Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) who issued a joint statement to enlist the support of Governments for the facilitation of crew changes in ports and airports in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019 was quite the year for maritime disasters with ships on fire, containers falling off ships etc.. 2020 seems to be hitting the industry in other ways which could also be considered a kind of maritime disaster..
But in what may be the first reported case of containers falling off ships in 2020, the APL England a 5,780 TEU capacity containership lost around 40 containers off the coast of New South Wales in Australia.. It has also been reported that around 74 containers are lying in a collapsed state within the stacks on board the ship..
Such incidents bring to the fore the question whether the ship register or ship registry is liable for containers falling off a ship and who is really responsible..
Many things have changed in the last 30 years in shipping and freight..
Many positive new developments have taken place with things from the vintage days of shipping either obsolete to almost obsolete now..
If you look at many of the news items about the industry recently, there has been a certain buzz and intensity around the electronic bill of lading..
I am fairly confident that people entering the shipping and freight industry in the next decade will be told that 2020 was the year that saw the beginning of the end for the paper “Bill of Lading” and the year in which the switch to “Electronic Bill of Lading” (eBL) began in earnest..
COVID-19 is probably the world’s most disliked word currently due to the rampant economic disruption it has wreaked on the world. All countries and all businesses around the world have been affected by this pandemic.
The supply chain industry is one industry that has also been affected severely. The industry has seen a massive drop in volumes, congestion both on land and at sea, job losses etc, although ironically this is one of the industries that has and is helping to fight this pandemic through its movement of essential goods like medical supplies, food and PPE.
At the end of March 2020, we set up a short survey sponsored by Ocean Insights to analyse the impact of the pandemic on the industry and its preparedness.
12,000 clicks of that survey and the analysis and a 95% engagement rate told us that in times of strife, people want to come together, understand what is going on and help each other out of this situation.
So, we got together a team of executives to discuss these issues in a webinar moderated by an equally celebrated and astute industry journalist.
There are several reasons that cargo inside a container could damaged. It could be due to improper packing of cargo inside a container, incorrect container used for the cargo carried, but one of the main reasons for cargo damage inside a container is the condition of the container itself.
Wet damage due water ingress (rain, seawater etc) into the container ;
Wet damage due to condensation inside the container when an incorrect type of container is used like using a normal container instead of a ventilated container ;
Contamination due to adjacency risk or odor transfer ;
are some of the common types of damages reported on cargoes that are packed in containers.
As a general rule, shipping lines reject these claims confirming that the gate out documents of the containers were clean at the time of release to the shipper. Insurance companies use Unseaworthiness and Unfitness Exclusion Clause stated in ICC (A) not to cover similar claims either, unless the insured can prove that he was not aware of the condition of the container at the time of loading.
Obviously, this situation causes a lot of frustration, feelings of injustice, and could result in absorbed losses among shippers globally.
So should the shipper simply accept this rejection of claims and move on?
The COVID-19 pandemic has put seafarers around the world in precarious situations. Travel restrictions mean some cannot leave their ships, be repatriated home, or even get urgent medical assistance. Other seafarers have seen their contracts unilaterally terminated or have been quarantined on board ships for more than 14 days, without getting paid.
A large number of seafarers, as well as their spouses and family members, have reached out to IMO to share their concerns about a variety of difficult situations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
IMO has established an internal team to help resolve individual cases, often working alongside other organizations like the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
The issue of what the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) may consider in assessing whether a demurrage or detention practice is unjust or unreasonable has seemingly been put to rest with FMC having the final word..
On the 28th of April 2020, the FMC issued its final rule on its interpretation of the Shipping Act prohibition against failing to establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with receiving, handling, storing, or delivering property with respect to demurrage and detention..
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect and disrupt industries, jobs, lives, and economies around the world, there also seems to be a good fightback from the various industries, governments, and organisations.
Shipping lines have been offering time-sensitive cost-saving options for COVID-19 along with some relief in demurrage and detention charges etc.. Governments have been given tax breaks and business rescue packages to those most affected.
Now it seems to be the turn of the two main canals that serve the shipping and freight industry – the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal.
These canals save shipowners costs in terms of the transit, in terms of fuel costs, and also assists in reducing the carbon footprint of the transiting ships but of course both these canals have toll charges for the transit of ships.