1. Shipping industry goes digital in lockdown.
29 May 2020 : Ports operator DP World will join shipping company Maersk and other peers in a blockchain platform aimed at limiting the sector’s costly paper trail.
“The situation around the coronavirus is a very good catalyst for making sure everyone in the supply chain can communicate with each other digitally,” Mike Bhaskaran, DP World’s chief operating officer for logistics and technology, told Reuters.
The Dubai-based company, one of the world’s biggest port operators, plans to connect its entire business, including its 82 container terminals, using the blockchain technology. The participation of key companies in the TradeLens platform, launched in 2018 by Maersk and IBM, is seen as crucial for cutting costs in an industry that has seen little innovation since the container was invented in the 1950s.
2. Expired certificates deny Indian seafarers job prospects.
29 May 2020 : Indian seafarers awaiting their next assignment on ships when crew change resume fully will face another hurdle to their job prospects – expired certificates – as maritime training institutes that facilitate certificate renewals are shut till further notice, in the wake of the pandemic.
Following calls to fix the issue, the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has sought to resolve the matter, but seafarers say it will not meet the requirements. In a May 21 order, the DGS extended the validity of seafarers’ certificates that are expiring between March 01 and December 31 by six months from the expiry date printed/typed on the relevant certificate (Certificate of Competency/Proficiency/ Equivalence), irrespective of whether the seafarer is/was on ship at the time of expiry or not.
3. Ince partners with Sailors’ Society to champion seafarers as “key workers of the sea” supporting global supply chain.
28 May 2020 : Ince, the international legal and professional services firm, has partnered with global maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society, one of the largest seafarers’ support charities in the world, to raise awareness for the plight of seafarers. Dubbed the “key workers of the sea”, seafarers are particularly exposed to the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Ince’s Senior Partner Julian Clark, who was previously a professional musician, has donated a track, ‘From the Sea I’ll Come Home’, to Sailors’ Society, in order to raise both awareness and funds for those in peril at sea. Sailors’ Society provides support to the world’s 1.6 million seafarers and their families, while Ince is known as a global leader in maritime shipping law.
The collaboration comes as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) named the need for ships to change crews and for seafarers to fly home at the end of their period of services, as two of the biggest challenges facing the shipping industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
4. GTMaritime launches customisable news service to support crew welfare.
28 May 2020 : UK-based marine communications specialist GTMaritime is introducing a fully-customisable news distribution service for vessel owners and operators helping them keep their crews up-to-date on events unfolding in their home countries as well as offering a selection of lighter content to help maintain morale.
Specifically designed for the marine environment, GTNews4Crew can be configured according to the nationalities and interests of a vessel’s crew. News channels can be selected based on language preferences to ensure articles delivered to vessels are both relevant and relatable. News is available in 20 languages, including those of the major seafarer nations, such as Indian, Filipino, and Russian.
Mike McNally, Global Commercial Director at GTMaritime explained: “A multilingual, locally-sourced solution was essential to avoid ‘foreign hotel TV’ syndrome, where you end up watching domestic broadcasts in the typically futile hope something from home will crop up and, if it does, then trying to piece the story together from any captions, footage, or listening beneath over-dubs. It invariably leaves you none the wiser.”
5. India : 8 seafarers, including Mohali-based Captain, back home from Jakarta.
27 may 2020 : India may have resumed crew changes for its seafarers, who are caught in the pandemic-related restrictions, but many countries are still refusing clearance, causing stress and confusion.
Amid this grim scenario, the homecoming of eight seafarers, thanks to the efforts of owners of the companies, has come as a huge relief for families and colleagues. PT Selebes Sarana, vessel owner, and Asia World Shipping Pte Ltd, a technical management company, along with its crewing agent, Crew Sarge Maritime Pvt Ltd, succeeded in repatriating the seafarers, who were stranded on MT Roil Orchid ever since their contract ended on May 1, from Jakarta to Delhi with “fully paid wages”.
6. Singapore to allow crew changes where seafarer contracts have expired.
26 May 2020 : In a move forward in getting crew changes happening again Singapore has broadened “special circumstances” to include the end of the seafarer’s contract and is exploring options with the industry and unions including specially chartered flights.
In a Port Marine Circular dated 22 May the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) detailed enhancements to measures previously announced to allow crew changes in “special circumstances”. “MPA has since worked closely with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), Singapore Organisation for Seamen (SOS) and the industry as well as other government agencies to enhance the existing procedures,” the circular said.
7. Panama Supports IMO Decision By Designating Seafarers As “Key Workers”.
25 May 2020 : The Republic of Panama, with a view to international maritime development, plays a very important role in the global logistics platform through the responsible administration of its merchant fleet and its port system, in the training of seafarers who sail aboard its ships and in the conservation of its seas.
Panama’s permanent commitment to compliance with both national and international regulations, its successful logistics and its competitive market structure, have allowed it to scale up to achieve undisputed leadership in the global maritime sector. We are proud of this achievement, since the maritime, port and logistics sector in Panama represents 32% of the GDP and generates around 290 thousand jobs, directly and indirectly, all of which has a greater meaning given that 90% of the world’s cargo is transported by sea.