The Global Maritime Forum announced the launch of the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator which aims to provide up-to-date information on the impact of the crew change crisis and monitor developments over time.
Despite the concerted efforts by international organizations and companies, seafarers are still unable to disembark from vessels while new strains of Covid-19 create a risk of making the situation worse. Currently, data that gives access to the number of seafarers who are impacted by the crew change crisis is limited. As such, the new Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator has been developed with a view to provide updates of the situation.
To better understand and address the crew change crisis, there is a need to have access to accurate data that will allow stakeholders to monitor and respond to the situation. This is why we created the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator
…said Graham Westgarth, Chairman of V. Group.
This development is part of the Neptune Declaration initiative, launched in early 2021, which has formed a taskforce of major stakeholders from across the maritime value chain to address crew change challenges.
The first Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator shows that by mid-April 2021, 5.8% of seafarers were onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contracts of employment. 0.4% of seafarers had been onboard vessels for over 11 months. The Maritime Labour Convention states that the maximum continuous period a seafarer should serve on board a vessel without leave is 11 months.
As explained, the Indicator will be published monthly with data provided by ship managers reflecting the situation on the 15th day of each month, reported to GMF by the 22nd day of the month who will then publish the indicator on the first working day of the next month.
The contributing ship managers have, as part of the reporting, also highlighted the following key developments that have impacted crew-changes in the past month:
• A number of countries, including crew change hubs and seafaring nations, have in the past month increased travel restrictions, as a result of an increase in cases of Covid-19 due to new variants. This has also impacted air connectivity.
• A growing number of seafarers test positive for Covid-19 at the time of pre-joining. It is noted that seafarers in general do not have access to vaccinations, which increases their risk of contracting Covid-19.
• Some seafarers from countries with a rapidly growing number of Covid-19 cases have indicated a reluctance to join vessels out of fear of family members getting infected and needing their help.
While the percentages of the first indicator appear low, this should not be interpreted as an indication that the crew change crisis is over. On the contrary, we see worrying signs with the rapid spread of new strains of Covid, in India and other countries, which should be a big cause for concern for our industry
…said Rajesh Unni, CEO of Synergy Group.
The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator builds on aggregated data from 10 leading ship managers , which collectively have about 90,000 seafarers currently onboard. Watson Farley & Williams LLP provided legal advice on the project.
Fleet Management (FLEET)
Wilhelmsen Ship Management
The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator will be published once a month and builds on aggregated data provided by the ship managers to the Global Maritime Forum. The data is used to calculate a weighted average of the percentage of seafarers who have been onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract of employment as well as a weighted average of the percentage of seafarers who have been onboard vessels for over 11 months. As top ship managers are making significant efforts – and are often better placed – in facilitating crew changes, the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator cannot be used directly to calculate the full numbers of seafarers impacted by the crew change crisis.