COVID-19 and Seafarer's Crew Change

Yeah, just because the enemy is invisible doesn’t mean we shouldn’t maintain a war footing and do what’s needed to win.

Nothing specially for Dutch seafarers, but all nationalities
Posted this in another thread before I saw your post.


I know that only a minuscule part of the 1.6 Mill. seafarers in the world are Americans and most of those serve on ships that doesn’t carry commercial cargo in overseas trade.

But maybe fellow seafarers on this forum have some compassion for those who are either stranded on board ships, or refused entry to many countries so they can get to their ships to relieve their colleagues:

PS> I don’t know if hospitality crew on cruise ships are included in the 1.6 Mill. but there is a lot of those that is in limbo around the world. Many have been exposed to the virus while caring for sick Pax, while the ship has been sailing from port to port looking for help.

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Canada is positioning itself as crew change hub:

If you have problem with crew change due to Covid-19, just make it across the border(??)

The deadline is today fort Governments and Authorities around the world to react to the crisis that is created by their reluctance to allow crew change:

There is a very real risk that many of the 300000 seafarers that has finished their contract, but is unable to go home, will down tool.

This will affect the supply chain and possibly block ports with idle ships, thus causing shortages in many parts of the world.

Gcaptain News also have an article about this today:

It is also getting attention in other Maritime media worldwide:,the%20purpose%20of%20crew%20exchanges.

There appears to be agreement on the importance of fixing this problem for ALL seafarers (Not only nation by nation)

ITF and the Ship Manager’s organization InterManager is reacting to the reluctance of Governments and Authorities around the world to open up for crew change for seafarers that has been held onboard ships for much longer than their contract calls for:

Singapore is singled out as one of the places that is “all talk and no action”.
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good old MPA…
Singpore has opened up to Phase 2, but looks like they forgot to tell the MPA.
all Marina’s and clubs open but you cant take your boat out, not even a canoe.
The water is closed to pleasurecraft.

The long saga of delayed crew change due to Covid-19 will probably end one day, but what comes after?:

Higher wages? :roll_eyes:

You got it right to be cynical. All I see is a proposal to move the master and chief engineers responsibility’s ashore and a “todo” List being produced for the barely trained and poorly paid that are left onboard.
We had New Zealanders employed by Anglo Eastern at on time, the same manning agency that manned the livestock carrier.
As soon as they got the contract they started reducing wages and conditions until it got to a point where living in a 1st world country and being offered 3rd world wages and conditions became untenable.
You reap what you sow.

It is not only seafarers, shipowners and managers that is hurt by the present impasse on crew change.
The Shipping Agents around the world is struggling to arrange crew change for their clients in just about every port in the world:

GAC is one of the largest Agencies in the world, with offices on every continent, except Antarctica.

The agony for crews stranded on ships for months without prospects of going home, or even for shore leave when in port has been getting more attention, but still no solution.
Add to the pandemic political spats between governments that talk past each other instead of too each other:

Even Jeff Bezo has been asked to help:

Maybe he can threaten to not ship his junk unless the crews gets to go home?

Another problem that is raising it’s ugly head again is crew abandonment. Maybe not directly caused by the pandemic and the problem with crew change but that could be a contributing factor:

Will this ever end!!!
From Maasmond News clippings today:

I would think a lot of Western Seafarers are going to quit the business after this. Who in their right minds are going to risk being stranded abroad for months on end for shit pay?

In the long run that may be the result. It was happening anyway, with fewer and fewer looking at seafaring as a life long career.
Offshore, with short stints on board is more attractive than merchant ships with long sea voyages and short time in port. (If shore leave is possible/allowed at all)

But the immediate problem is those seafarers that has spent a year on more on board and with little prospects of getting home any time soon. For some X-mas is a specially difficult time to spend away from their family.

Is anything being done to solve the problem? Well, here is “the answer”:

Will this make any difference?:

These guys are hoping so. They have been stranded on a ship abandoned by the Owner and Flag state for 11 months. Maybe not directly because of Covid-19, but it has certainly contributed:
Crew Abandoned for 11 Months Calls for Action Staging a Hunger Strike.


PS> “All Major Continents” (??)

Seafarers feel like they are treated like criminals, being imprisoned / quarantined in “prison camps”:
Quarantining like criminals in a prison camp: Seafarers Happiness Index - Splash247

A bit of Covid news