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News: ITF and Maritime Employers Welcome IMO Crew Changes Protocol

18 May 2020

The Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) of maritime employers and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) issued a joint statement on 13 May 2020 welcoming the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The joint statement urges Flag States, P&I Clubs, Operators and Charterers to adopt the framework of protocols, warning that if they are not taking effect by mid-June 2020, the inconsistencies of crew changes, availability of suitable medical support ashore, and consequential stress related sickness of seafarers may negatively impact commercial ship operations. 

The ITF and the JNG, which comprises the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), the International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ) and the Korean Shipowners’ Association (KSA), highlight in the statement that they have twice agreed to extend crew contracts due to COVID-19, but warn that they will be unable to continue their support unless the IMO framework takes effect by mid-June, due to seafarer health and wellbeing concerns.

The joint statement can be found here on the right, along with the IMO recommended framework of protocols.