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Governments have committed to minimizing disruptions to trade and global supply chains, and have identified the need to prioritize keeping logistics networks open and functioning efficiently.

Shipping companies and airlines are cooperating to meet this priority by ensuring that reliable operations are able to continue throughout the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, these networks will come to a halt if replacement ship crews are unavailable for duty due to the lack of available flights and other restrictions affecting the travel and movement of ship crews. This critical issue continues to take on a humanitarian dimension for those crews which have already spent many months at sea and which urgently need to be repatriated to their home countries and replaced. Apart from the need for shipping companies to comply with international regulations and contractual obligations, service periods on board ships cannot be extended indefinitely due to the dangerous impacts this has for the well-being of ship crew and, most importantly, safe ship operations. In view of the importance of international maritime transport to the resilience of the global economy at this critical time, Governments are strongly encouraged to take urgent action to address this issue.

The full IMO publication van be downloaded below. 

Further IMO Coronavirus guidance.


  • Crew Change protocols - revised IMO publication 3 MB


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