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150,000 seafarers in need of crew change by May 15

New data compiled by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) has found that 150,000 seafarers are in need of crew change by the 15th of May.

The labour day sound your horn event was created to highlight the plight of seafarers trapped by travel restrictions related to COVID-19, where seafarers have had to extend their time onboard ships after lengthy periods at sea to ensure that supplies of food, fuel and goods, including vital medical supplies are maintained.

This number is up by 50% from 100,000 when ICS first highlighted the problem with national governments and the G20. Continued inaction will see this number continue to rise as more seafarers require crew change.

The current situation risks the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers. While the continued inability to rotate seafarers on and off ships poses a serious threat to the ability of ships to deliver vital cargo at a time when countries need it most. 

Globally there are 1.2 million seafarers onboard 65,000 ships at sea. For the past two months crew change has all but completely stopped. This means that the crew has not been able to disembark or embark ships at ports and terms have had to be extended, but this is not sustainable. International Workers’ Day is the ideal moment to recognize their contribution to fighting the coronavirus pandemic said Guy Platten, Secretary General ICS.  Photo : Igor Filchakov