1. Mission to Seafarers announces crew welfare campaign to maintain seafarer support during pandemic.
8 Jan 2021 : The Mission to Seafarers announced the launch of a new fundraising campaign to sustain the crew welfare support currently being provided around the world at a time when it is most needed and as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The Mission will unveil a rolling programme of initiatives which will have significant benefits for the welfare of the entire industry from welfare training for seafarers and frontline staff to new family support network offerings, reassurance and practical help.
The programme has already received a generous donation from MSC to start the Sustaining Crew Welfare Campaign which will ensure the Mission is providing the best care possible, encouraging innovation in adapting and maintaining services to meet seafarers’ needs, and providing mental wellbeing support.
2. BIMCO publishes latest edition of cyber risk management guidelines.
08 Jan 2021 : The fourth edition of the industry cyber risk management guidelines, Guidelines on Cybersecurity Onboard Ships is now available and lays the foundation for further improvements and refinement of companies’ cyber security risk assessments.
The version 4 of the cybersecurity guidelines is published at a time when shipowners and ship managers are faced with a requirement to implement cyber risk management in their safety management systems (SMS) by the time of their first Document of Compliance audit after 1 January 2021. While the previous version (version 3 dated November 2018) offered the necessary guidance for the initial work of implementing cyber risk management in the SMS, the new version contains several improvements.
“In recent years, the industry has been subjected to several significant incidents which have had a severe financial impact on the affected companies,” said Dirk Fry, chair of BIMCO’s cybersecurity working group and director of Columbia Ship Management.
3. Indian Seafarer Stranded in China Attempts Suicide.
07 Jan 2021 : What began as a trade war between China and India has escalated into a humanitarian crisis. The dispute has caused some 39 Indian seafarers to be stranded in Chinese waters for months now, driving one seafarer to slash his wrists after he was denied permission to return to India to look after his ailing wife and two sons, who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
The 47-year-old seafarer was initially contracted to serve on board the MSC-owned bulker Anastasia for five months, and his service has now been extended to 13 months. For over a month, he had been desperately trying to get permission to go to his family’s aid, and desperation drove him to attempt suicide.
The Navigating Officer of the ship came to his rescue just in the nick of time. The heat of the ongoing crisis has been felt by two bulk carriers that have been in the headlines recently – the Anastasia (IMO 9625970) and the Jag Anand, owned by India’s Great Eastern Shipping Company.
4. Maritime union calls on Australia to immediately designate seafarers key workers.
07 Jan 2021 : The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) described as “notable” the omission of Australia among 45 IMO member states that have determined seafarers to be key workers.
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) president and MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said: “Australia must act immediately to align itself with international efforts, led by organisations like the IMO and ITF, to designate seafarers as key workers providing an essential service, and facilitate the safe and unhindered movement of seafarers for embarking and disembarking a vessel, accessing shore leave, and when necessary, access to shore-based medical treatment.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the health of people and communities across the world, the outlook for seafarers becomes increasingly more desperate by the day.
5. Australia fails to designate seafarers as key workers in line with IMO resolutions.
06 Jan 2021 : In December 2020, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) passed several resolutions specifically addressing the need for seafarers, and other marine personnel, to be designated as key workers. Australia is a notable omission from the cohort of 45 IMO member states who have already determined seafarers to be key workers.
International Transport Workers Federation President and Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said: “Australia must act immediately to align itself with international efforts, led by organisations like the IMO and ITF, to designate seafarers as key workers providing an essential service, and facilitate the safe and unhindered movement of seafarers for embarking and disembarking a vessel, accessing shore leave, and when necessary, access to shore-based medical treatment.
6. Containership and LNG Carrier Assist in Caribbean Sea Rescue.
06 Jan 2021 : The U.S. Coast Guard last week rescued a man from a disabled sailboat in the Caribbean Sea about 114 nautical miles from Puerto Rico with assistance from the merchant ships CSCL Long Beach and Gemmata.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a notification at 11:40 p.m. last Wednesday, December 30, from the Master of the Hong Kong flagged 1,105-foot container ship CSCL Long Beach relaying a distress call from the SV Jade reporting it was disabled and adrift due to having broken sails, a damaged rudder, and not enough fuel to transit to safe harbor.
Watchstanders immediately diverted the cutter Joseph Napier to provide rescue assistance to the sailor. The Gemmata, a Singapore flagged 951-foot LNG carrier, also diverted to the scene and served as a communications platform with the vessel Jade while the U.S. Coast Guard Guard Cutter Joseph Napier completed over a 150 nautical mile transit to the scene.
7. Philippines Restricts Crew Changes to Combat New Strain of COVID-19.
05 Jan 2021 : Seeking to protect the Philippines from a new variant of COVID-19, Philippines authorities announced that they have suspended crew changes for two weeks for foreign nationals from certain countries, while also tightening the restrictions for Filipinos and travelers from the United States.
First identified in the UK in December and now being seen in other countries, scientists believe the new strain of the virus is far more transmissible than earlier strains but no more severe or deadly. With countries around the world scrambling to set new protocols seeking to contain the virus, the Philippines Port Authority released its new guidelines for conducting crew changes during the first two weeks of January.
The guidelines cover a total of 21 countries ranging from Australia, Canada, the United States, most of Europe, South Africa, and parts of Asia including South Korea and Singapore. Foreign seafarers who have been in any of the listed countries in the 14 days preceding their arrival in the Philippines are restricted from entering the country.
8. Human rights of Indian seafarers trampled by China says NHRC.
04 Jan 2021 : India has asked China to urgently provide practical and time-bound assistance to help the sailors stuck in the two ships anchored off the Jingtang and Caofeidian ports. India told Beijing that the the conditions are becoming increasingly difficult for the 39 sailors from India and they are being forced to live onboard the MV Jag and MV Anastasia, which have been anchored off the ports of China for several months now.
It may be recalled that the National Human Rights Commission had take suo motu cognisance of media reports on the issue and issued notices to the Secretary (Consular, Passport and Visa) of the Ministry of External Affairs. The NHRC observed that it appeared prima facie that the rights to life, dignity, equality and liberty of the 39 seafarers had been trampled down by a member nation of the United Nations in derogation of international human rights.
9. Philippines in temporary crew change ban on vessels arriving from 20 countries.
04 Jan 2021 : The Philippines Port Authority (PPA) said in Facebook post that from 30 December 2020 to 15 January 2021 it would disallow crew change for vessels from an initial list of 20 countries at it’s crew change facilities including those in Manila South Harbor, Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan, Port of Sasa in Davao and Port of Batangas.
PPA said the ban of crew change from vessels coming from these countries was part of the “country’s bid to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 strain through the country’s ports”.
“Based on the Memorandum released by DOTr (Department of Transport)assistant secretary for Maritime Narciso Vingzon, Jr. to guide the crew change hubs, the initial list of flagged countries includes Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom,” PPA said.