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Chamber’s Shipping & Transport Committee Chair appeals for help to end humanitarian crisis of stranded seafarers

The Chairman of the Chamber’s Shipping & Transport Committee, Albert Weatherill, is calling for an end to a humanitarian crisis caused by Covid-19.

The Chairman of the Chamber’s Shipping and Transport Committee is turning the spotlight on the plight of seafarers who have been left stranded on their ships because of Covid-19.

Albert Weatherill, Managing Director of Van Ameyde McAuslands, has added his signature to more than 400 other businesses which have signed the Global Maritime Forum’s Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing.

The Neptune Declaration urges the implementation of four main actions to address the crisis:

  • Recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
  • Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
  • Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers

Albert said: “Thanks to Covid-19 hundreds of thousands of seafarers, worldwide, have been stranded aboard ships when they were due to return home, continuing to work on extended contracts, since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“This leads to seafarers facing fatigue after long periods at sea, which has both physical and mental wellbeing concerns. As well as fatigue, there are increased risks of maritime incidents and environmental disasters, posing a threat to the integrity of maritime supply chains that carry 90% of global trade.

“It is estimated that only 25% of normal crew changes, between March and August 2020, were able to take place due to the suspension of most international flights. Whilst there have been significant efforts to bring an end to this crew change crisis by a number of international organisations, some governments, unions and companies, the situation is getting evidently worse as travel bans are increasing due to the new variants of coronavirus being discovered.

“Across the marine industry, and beyond, there is a shared responsibility to resolve the crew change crisis.

“McAuslands are a signatory to The Neptune Declaration to put an end to this humanitarian crisis and they are showing that it is much more than a signature on a declaration. It is about the actions that are taken to resolve this crisis.

“McAuslands are providing much needed Covid-19 testing where it is needed the most – at the vessels. They are providing a crucial first step to allow seafarers to travel safely.

McAuslands are now offering a national one-stop service for Covid-19 safe crew changes. Their programme, delivered by medically trained and registered professionals, is providing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests onboard vessels, to allow seafarers to depart, or at airports, for arriving seafarers.

McAuslands are rolling out the service beyond the south coast of England to all parts of the UK and are offering their assistance to help seafarers return home.

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