November 13, 2020: Among the outcomes from the virtual meeting this week of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) delegates have approved plans to get the UN agency to include a public list of all ports where crew changes are possible, as well as highlighting crew change regulations in individual countries.
Currently collated, reliable global crew change regulation information is limited with Splash regularly turning to Inchcape’s crew change tracker to keep abreast of which ports are open for crew repatriation. Inchcape currently lists 26 countries as completely open for crew change.
Following this week’s MSC meeting, the IMO said it will now disseminate information about ports to enable shipping companies to easily plan and organise crew changes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Delegates attending the virtual meeting also endorsed IMO’s crew change protocols, which it first published back in May. The IMO recommendations carry best practice advice on how to conduct crew changes safely during the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which helped in formulating the protocols, commented: “The crew change crisis is still impacting hundreds of thousands seafarers across the globe and we urgently need these words to be translated into actions. The protocols provide the basis for safe and secure crew change and look forward to their speedy implementation.”
In related news, the Department of Transportation in the Philippines is set to open two more crew change hubs in the country. The ports of Davao in the far south and Batangas in the heart of the country will open up as crew change hubs shortly, joining existing crew change hubs in the ports of Manila, Bataan, Subic and Cebu.
Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade yesterday reiterated his determination to make the country the crew change hub capital of the world.