Global tripartite initiative to support breaking crew change deadlock

Global tripartite initiative to support breaking crew change deadlock

Joint release from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS)

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) have jointly contributed US$500,000 to the Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund to support countries that adopt best practices for crew change.

This adds to the S$1 million SG-STAR Fund established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS). The total fund now amounts to S$1.68 million (approximately US$1.2 million).

Besides ITF and IMEC, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will also lend support to the SG-STAR Fund including technical expertise in shipping. 

With the contribution and support by ITF, IMEC and ICS, the SG-STAR Fund is the first global tripartite initiative bringing together like-minded international partners from the industry, unions and government to facilitate safe crew changes. The fund, based in Singapore, will be disbursed for use upstream in countries where seafarers come from. We continue to welcome like-minded partners to join us in this global alliance.

ITF General Secretary Mr. Stephen Cotton said the SG-STAR Fund has the potential to support practical solutions to reduce the severity of the crew change crisis for the world’s 1.4 million seafarers.

“For over six months, the crew change crisis has seen hundreds of thousands of seafarers either trapped on ships or unemployed at home, desperate to get to work. For the world’s seafarers, they need practical solutions now, not tomorrow, to end this humanitarian crisis and get seafarers to and from ships in a safe manner. This joint initiative, working with tripartite partners to promote practical solutions to the crew change crisis, will be key to breaking the current deadlock,” Cotton said.

Cotton urged on ways seafarers can show authorities and employers their negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results from verified medical institutions, so that quarantine times can be reduced on board and while waiting to join vessels.

Mr. Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is unfairly trapping seafarers. This initiative is exactly the type of project needed to resolve the crew change crisis.”

Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, said, “This is a commendable global initiative bringing together the collective efforts of governments, the shipping industry and maritime unions to take concrete steps to address the urgent issue of crew change.”

“The SG-STAR Fund initiated by the tripartite partners in Singapore three weeks ago aims to help support ship crew supplying nations enhance facilities and capabilities to establish safe and scalable “bubbles” or “corridors” to enable crew change – from the time to/from home country or country of origin, to the country where the crew joins the ship, as well as safe holding facilities at the home/origin country and the country where the crew change occurs.”

SSA President Ms. Caroline Yang who will chair the Governance Committee for the SG-STAR Fund said: “We are heartened to have ITF and IMEC join our initiative and contribute to the fund. The ICS is also supporting this initiative including their technical expertise in shipping. We look forward to having more like-minded international partners come on board this tripartite initiative so that safe crew change can be further accelerated.” 

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