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Seafarers replacement measures

27 April 2020

Seafarers replacement measures

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) are jointly calling on governments to take urgent measures

Each month about 100,000 merchant seafarers need to be changed over from the ships on which they operate to ensure compliance with international maritime regulations protecting safety, health and welfare.

As a result of government-imposed travel restrictions due to COVID-19, flights to repatriate or position marine personnel are unavailable. This is why IATA and ICS are working together to come forward with safe and pragmatic solutions .

“Seafarers are unsung heroes who everyday throughout this COVID-19 crisis are going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that countries are kept supplied with the goods they need. We are working with the airlines to come forward with solutions. We now need governments to support our seafarers,” said ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten.

“Airlines have been required to cut passenger services in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. But if Governments identify airports that seafarers can use for crew changes and make appropriate adjustments, airlines can help keep global logistics moving,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

  • Designated Airports
    ICS and IATA are calling on all governments to designate a specific airports for the crew repatriation. Priority airports should include those close to major shipping lanes which also have direct air connections to principal seafarer countries of residence, such as China, India and the Philippines as well as destinations in western and eastern Europe. 
  • Facilitating Movement of International Transport Personnel
    Aviation and shipping companies face common challenges while complying with immigration and quarantine restrictions.
    In addition, as authorities continue to battle COVID-19, aircraft and ships companies, are often affected by national restrictions designed for passengers and non-essential personnel. Therefore, IATA and ICS are working with their global regulators – the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – on recommendations to governments for standardized procedures and protocols.
  • Keeping Global Supply Chains Operating
    The aviation and maritime transport industries are the lifeblood of the global economy. 
    –  By volume, some 90% of global trade is delivered by ship, including food, energy, raw materials and manufactured products.
    –  Airlines carry, in addition to passengers, some 35% of global trade by value, including critical medicines and medical supplies.

Furthermore, G20 governments are committed to “minimize disruptions to trade and global supply chains” and to prioritize keeping air and sea logistics networks open.

Shipping companies and airlines are cooperating to meet this priority by ensuring that reliable operations continue throughout the pandemic. However, Governments must take urgent action now to avoid further damage to the battered global economy.


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