News Bulletin – 19 December 2020

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1. More states join IMO call to designate seafarers as key workers.

18 Dec 2020 : In a circular letter issued this week, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim called on member states that have not yet done so to take action as a matter of urgency. Key worker designation for seafarers is essential to exempt these professionals from specific COVID-related travel restrictions, allowing them to travel between their country of residence and ships, and to be repatriated at the end of their contracts.

This is critical to resolve the crew change crisis, which currently leaves hundreds of thousands of seafarers trapped at sea or stuck at home and unable to join ships. It could even play a key role in granting them priority access to vaccination. 

The plight of stranded seafarers is highlighted in an IMO video featuring seafarers who describe the challenges they have faced due to the pandemic, and the impacts of the ongoing crew change crisis on their physical and mental health. Resolutions urging governments to designate seafarers as key workers have been adopted by IMO, the United Nations General Assembly and the International Labour Organization.

2. Shri Lanka: Port workers engage in a silent protest opposing the sale of the ECT.

18 Dec 2020 : Port employees staged a silent protest against the sale of the East Container Terminal on Thursday. We are ready to raise funds to operate the East Container Terminal. If the government is willing to safeguard the most valuable resource of the country, we are ready to be its investors,” General Secretary of the Progressive Trade Union on Commerce, Industry, and Services Shyamal Sumanaratne said.

He said “If the government wants to handover something to India, give them the parliament or the temple trees. Leave the East Container Terminal that we built, alone.”

If the government tries to sell this to the Adani Group or any other company, we have lined up all port employees to oppose it. We have the technology and the capability to do this, so let us. We have come forward to safeguard this,” Chairman of the Liberated Port Workers’ Union Prasanna Kalutharage said.

3. Digitalisation paves the way for future global port eco-system.

17 Dec 2020 : Cooperation amongst ports worldwide will “no longer be by choice but by necessity” as customers are increasingly looking for end-to-end supply chain and optimal connectivity, with individual port still having their own competitive market, according to Robert Sutton, Head of Abu Dhabi Ports’ Logistics Cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports (ADP).

2020 is without doubt a year of surprises, challenges and opportunities. We believe that the crisis [Covid-19 pandemic] is a trigger for innovation and certainly it has proven to be the case for ADP,” Sutton said.

The digitalisation of port operations is not about digitalising a single process, but rather it is about how the port can leverage digitalisation to have a wider impact on the entire eco-system of ports, Sutton explained.

Our head of digital cluster Dr Noura has a holistic view on digitalisation, and then bringing that back down to specific elements – something like reverse engineering. We have seen digitalisation helping to cut down quite a lot of time and remove some risks out of the supply chain, particularly in port operations, as well as a continual removal of manual processes,” he said.

4. ABB Marine & Ports opens new lab to stress-test cyber threats.

16 Dec 2020 : ABB Marine & Ports has opened a new cybersecurity laboratory to stress-test cyber threats to shipping before stricter maritime cybersecurity rules enter force on January 1, 2021.

In line with the guidelines set out by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the new laboratory features hardware and software systems developed to help shipowners and operators combat the maritime industry’s growing cybersecurity risks. Customers are now being invited for virtual demonstrations of the laboratory’s systems and capabilities.

With the rise of smarter, more connected systems, IMO urges all shipping companies to demonstrate that cyber threats have been part of every vessel’s Safety Management Systems (SMS) risk assessment from 2021 onwards.

5. Solving the crew change challenge.

16 Dec 2020 : Seafarers are invisible victims of COVID-19. Thanks to local restrictions and logistical challenges, hundreds of thousands have been stranded at sea – marooned on vessels for, in some cases, months beyond agreed contracts. Here Inchcape Shipping Services explains how it combines a physical network with virtual transparency to solve problems, unite families and safely switch seafarers worldwide.

Complexity and cost.”Feizel Mohammed doesn’t waste words. Speaking over a Teams link from his base in Singapore he doesn’t have the time to. Inchcape’s Global Sector Head, Ship & Crew Managers, has a busy evening at the office ahead and, by his reckoning, won’t be home with his (slumbering) family until 1am.

So, when asked about the major challenges of facilitating crew changes this year compared to last, he gets straight to the point.


15 Dec 2020 : PSA Mumbai welcomed a new Far East service (CI6/SIS/CISC2), jointly operated by Wan Hai Lines, Interasia Lines, Sinokor Merchant Marine Co. Ltd , Heung A Line Co. Ltd., and Feedertech Pte Ltd. The maiden vessel called the terminal on 12th December 2020.

M.V. Singapore Bridge is the first vessel deployed in this service of 6 vessels with nominal capacity of 4,250 TEU, connecting PSA Mumbai to key Far East markets with the following port rotations: PSA Mumbai – Mundra – Port Klang North Port – Shekou – Dalian – Shanghai – Ningbo – Hong Kong – Shekou – Singapore – Port Klang West Port – Port Klang North Port – Colombo – PSA Mumbai.

At a ceremony to welcome the CI6 service, Mr Jose Chen, IAL India representative said “Interasia Lines is happy to further strengthen its relationship with PSA Mumbai by adding the CI6 service apart from the CI2 service. We ensure to deliver quality service to our valued customers with both these services connecting from PSA Mumbai to Far East destinations, thereby steadily increase IAL presence in India.

7. Adani taken aback by workers’ demands at newly acquired Krishnapatnam port.

15 Dec 2020 : Scores of workers engaged in logistics operations at Krishnapatnam port have urged the management to provide job protection, payment of wage arrears and eight-hour shifts, among other issues. The workers have joined the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) to press their demands.

The CITU had represented the workers’ demands before the District Collector at Nellore where the port is located, following which the Collector had directed the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Nellore to call a meeting to resolve the grievances of the workers.

The workers, after issuing a notice to the port management, have decided to work for eight hours as per law, instead of the 12-hours prevailing at the port, from December 11. Apart from the demands for wage arrears, shorter working hours, bonus and variable dearness allowance, which they say hasn’t been paid for the last three years, the CITU is seeking reinstatement of 26 workers, who it said were “illegally terminated” by the management, after they went to their native places due to Covid-19.

8. Smart Ports: Roadmap to improved maritime landscape in Nigeria.

14 Dec 2020 : THE importance of maritime sector in socio-economic and development of any nation is very crucial. According to figures from the World Trade Organisation, WTO, seaports currently represent one of the most important logistics centres due to the fact that more than 80 per cent of worldwide freight is transported using this method.

Therefore, if maritime is well harnessed and the ports are efficient, it will remain crucial to non-oil revenue generation and the most cardinal factor for growth and economic development in the country.
However, a recent review of the situation at the Nigerian ports indicates that the state of many of the infrastructure particularly the roads are in state of despair. This huge problem is currently having tremendous negative impact on the operational performance and efficiency at the ports.

9. India: Without seafarers, Marina now battles to stay afloat.

14 Dec 2020 : The sight of yachters walking out from their boats was typical of Kochi Marinas tourist rush during high tourism seasons. But as the tourist crowd remains at home, that once familiar scene has since been replaced with emptied docks and closed berths.

With the international travel yet to be free from restrictions, the Marina is facing an uphill battle amid the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Since the lockdown, the inflow of foreign yachts has completely stopped and many yachts that reached here before March have sailed out.

There are only six yachts docked at the Marina now compared to nearly 22 in February. Among them only one has anyone staying on board and all others have left for their countries on repatriation flights after locking the boathouses.

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