COVID-19 – 46 Countries agree to designate seafarers as “key workers”
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen tens of thousands of seafarers stranded on board ships or unable to join ships. The IMO had intervened promptly in this humanitarian and safety crisis by urging its Member States to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as “key workers” so that they can travel between the ships that constitute their workplace, and their countries of residence, as well as disembark from their ships to seek medical treatment ashore. The IMO in its Circular Letter No.4204/Add.35 14 December 2020 announces that, at the time of issuing the letter, 46 States have designated seafarers as key workers. These States are listed in the Annex to the Circular. The remaining States which have yet to take this step are strongly urged to do so.
Members are directed to the IMO’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic home page, and to the UK Club’s webpagefor additional information on the issues surrounding crew changes and repatriation of seafarers during this pandemic.
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In a press briefing dated 21 December 2020, the Secretary-General of the IMO spoke out against “no crew change” clauses in charterparties.
On 11 September 2020, the IMO posted a Joint Statement by the United Nations Specialized Agencies calling on all Governments to immediately recognise seafarers as key workers and to take swift and effective action to eliminate obstacles to crew changes.