News Bulletin – 20 February 2021

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1. IMO launches a year of action for seafarers.
19 Feb 2021 : The World Maritime Theme for 2021 is dedicated to seafarers, highlighting their central role in the future of shipping. IMO has chosen to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite their vital role as key workers for global supply chains.
The World Maritime Theme for 2021, “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future” seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable role they play now and will continue to play in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on seafarers, with hundreds of thousands of men and women stranded on ships for months beyond their original contracts, unable to be repatriated due to national travel restrictions. A similar number of seafarers are unable to join ships and earn a living. This crew change crisis, which has been ongoing for nearly a year, is a humanitarian emergency that threatens the safety of shipping.
2. IMO and WISTA International launch first Women in Maritime Survey.
18 Feb 2021 : IMO and WISTA International survey will obtain baseline data on number of women and their positions in maritime and oceans field. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA International) have launched the Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021 to examine the proportion and distribution of women working in the maritime sector, from support roles to executive level positions.
The survey is part of a series of activities aimed at laying the groundwork for further discussions on how to build a more diverse workforce within the maritime sector, essential for a sustainable future. The data obtained by the survey will help build a picture of diversity and gender equality in the industry.
3. Maritime Consortium Launch Crewcare App To Improve Seafarer Well-Being.

18 Feb 2021 : Marking a significant step forward in seafarer welfare, a group of established maritime entities have joined forces to build a digital platform aimed at improving the emotional well-being of the world’s 1.7 million seafarers.
Launched yesterday, the Safebridge CrewCare app – jointly developed by volunteer group Container Shipping Supporting Seafarers (CSSS), maritime EdTech company Safebridge, data analytics company Motion Ventures, and the Universities of Manchester and Plymouth – encourages seafarers to open up about their feelings and thoughts to mitigate the risk of depression and suicide. In 2017, the UK P&I Club revealed that suicide was the top cause of seafarers’ deaths, accounting for 15% of all fatalities at sea.
4. Shipping faces “safety gap” as it transforms
17 Feb 2021 : A white paper released by classification society DNV GL identifies a looming “safety gap” between shipping’s existing approach to safety risks and its plans for greater digitalization and the adoption of alternative fuels.
Called “Closing the safety gap in an era of transformation,” the white paper notes that the maritime industry is undergoing a rapid transition to a decarbonized, digitally smart future. However, it says, the new technologies and fuels that the industry is banking on to meet the challenges of the next decades are creating a new risk landscape that demand a new approach to safety.
If shipping is able to adapt and implement the new safety perspectives identified in the white paper, the result could be a maritime industry that is not only more efficient and sustainable but also safer.
5. Seafarer shortages loom if crew change crisis persist, warns MAJ.

17 Feb 2021 : Rear Admiral (retired) Peter Brady, MAJ director general, highlighted the potential danger to the shipping industry if there is a mass exodus of crew from their sea-going jobs to take up shore-based employment.
If seafarers are not available to operate the ships, those vessels will simply lay alongside idle. Does the world need that now?”, he challenged, warning that the shipping industry needs to demonstrate to world leaders the vital role crew play in the supply chain.
Condemning the global “ignorance – or is it apathy” concerning the economic value of trade by sea to the world economy, he said: “There is an absolute need to urgently inform, educate, and sensitise both business leaders and consumers across the world as to the important role shipping plays in delivering 90% of global trade.
Then we must emphasise the stark fact that those ships are staffed by persons who need to be rotated promptly at the end of their contracted shift at sea and returned to their homes and families for the sake of their mental and physical health. Doing this is essential for the safe operation of ships, thereby protecting lives and the environment as well.”
6. Experts shed light on maritime security and growth opportunities in region
16 Feb 2021 : The 9th Inte¬rnational Maritime Conference (IMC) 2021, being organised by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs under the aegis of Pakistan Navy, and conducted in tandem with the 7th Multinational Maritime Exercise Aman-2021, reached its second day on Sunday.
The conference themed on ‘Development of Blue Economy under a Secure and Sustainable Environment: A Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region’ featured more eminent international and national scholars who elucidated a variety of issues pertaining to maritime security, the environment and relevant growth opportunities in the region.
Like the previous day, the second day of the conference was also divided into three sessions. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf graced the first session as the chief guest. Intellectuals across the globe extended their views on the ‘Need of Maritime Security and Sustainable Growth — A Shared Vision for Western Indian Ocean Region’.
7. Shipping Australia condemns latest waterfront strike action.
16 Feb 2021 : Victoria International Container Terminal, in the Port of Melbourne, has revealed that it will shortly be subject to extensive industrial action. Shipping Australia CEO Melwyn Noronha comments: “We would like to express our sympathy for ordinary families, for importers and exporters and for the trucking and logistics industries.
All of these Australians are already suffering because of the pandemic and the associated economic crisis. “Strikes at Australia’s major container terminals serious adversely affect ordinary Australian families. Remember, early last year, people were literally physically fighting in supermarkets over a perceived shortage of toilet paper.
Our importers and exporters will likely face increased difficulties and delay because of strikes and work bans. They may also face increased costs as they try to arrange workarounds to cope with the strike by, for example, arranging for their shipments to be re-routed. Meanwhile, our logistics industries – which accounts for about 10% of the Australian workforce – will be adversely affected too. Then there’s the adverse affect on our farmers’ ability to sell their products overseas in an effort to recover from years of drought, the recent bushfires and COVID.
8. India: 16 Indian sailors stuck in China to return.
15 Feb 2021 : Sixteen Indian crew members of the Swiss-Italian ship, MV Anastasia, who have been stuck in the Chinese waters for more than a year, will be returning to Mumbai on Sunday. Some crew members are likely to go to Kochi. Last month, the crew of the Indian bulk carrier, MV Jag Anand, had reached India via Japan. The crews of the two ships were stranded as China had denied them permission to offload their cargo following trade disputes with Australia.
Amitabh Kumar, director general of shipping, said, “These crew could not be relieved as they were carrying Australian coal, and China had refused to take it. Finally, these ships were diverted to Japan and the crew is coming to India after going through their tests.’’ MV Jag Anand had been stranded in the Chinese waters since June and Anastasia was stuck since last year.
9. Malaysian Govt urged to give vaccine priority to Malaysian seafarers.
15 Feb 2021 : The Malaysian Maritime Professionals Association’s Council (Ikmal) has urged the government to put seafarers on the priority list to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Ikmal said Malaysian seafarers, as a high-risk group, should be accorded priority to be inoculated in the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme to ensure continuity in the maritime transportation supply chain.
In a statement today, Ikmal said almost 90 per cent of global trade is seaborne, adding that the sector plays a critical economic role and provides vital logistical support during the pandemic. “Within this incessant maritime logistical movement, there exists 1.6 million seafarers globally who ensure that ships are in continuous operation, transporting myriad goods, including fuel, foodstuff and medical items. “Malaysian seafarers are also involved in this ecosystem. Approximately 40,000 of them continue serving selflessly, even though they face various difficulties.”
10. Florida port workers get training on how to spot and stop human trafficking .
15 Feb 2021 : With nearly 900 calls to the human trafficking hotline in 2019 alone, Florida ranked third nationwide, behind only California and Texas. With that in mind, the Port of Palm Beach this month undertook to train its staff and tenants in how to spot what might happen on their watch.
That’s not just sex trafficking but labor trafficking, said Mar Brettmann, CEO of BEST Alliance, the nonprofit that provided the port with the online course. BEST is an acronym for Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking, and was launched eight years ago on the premise that businesses are essential to prevent and report trafficking.
The Port of Palm Beach is the first Florida port to sign up for the nonprofit’s maritime learning unit. Brettmann said that her organization has been getting many requests from Florida hotels for instruction this year as well, thanks to a state law that took effect Jan. 1 that says a hotel that doesn’t provide training in trafficking prevention can be fined $2,000 a day.
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