News Bulletin – 25 July 2020

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1. Sailors’ Society provides mental health support to crew on board more than 1,000 ships.

24 July 2020 : International maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society is providing free mental health and wellbeing support to crew on board more than 1,000 ships through its Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign.

Based on Sailors’ Society’s award-winning Wellness at Sea programme, the unique approach was developed in response to the current COVID-19 crisis and aims to spread awareness and provide practical support to help seafarers through these challenging times. Among the companies who have chosen to partner with Sailors’ Society on the Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign are Seaspan, Fleet, SWIRE, Mayfair, Seaarland, Dynacom Tankers and Dorian LPG, with several other partnerships in the pipeline.

Capt. Prashant S. Rangnekar, COO, Elegant Marine Services Pvt. Ltd, manning arm of Fleet Management, said: “Seafarers are the torch bearers of our industry. When the world was in lockdown, the only movement of goods was by sea. The wellbeing of these essential workers is a top priority and with this in mind Fleet Management Ltd has chosen to partner with Sailors’ Society to provide a comprehensive wellness programme for our seafarers.” Mayfair is rolling out the Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign to crews from companies including Maersk Tankers, Scorpio Group and Qatar Gas.

2. Hellas-based International Seaferares Charity Works with Indian Counterparts to Establish Seafarers’ Welfare Center in Kakinada Port.

24 July 2020 : Greece based International seafarers charity “Seamen welfare organization” in collaboration with Sea mission and Merchant Navy Welfare Board (India) has established seafarers welfare centre in Kakinada seaport, India. The Kakinada seaport, India supported the organisation by providing space inside the dock area for promoting Seafarers Welfare according to the national and International Regulations.

Capt. Nikos Grivas, Chairman of the Seamen Welfare Organisation has named it as “Capt. Yiannoullou, Andreas International Seafarers welfare centre”. The Centre is competed air condition and equipped with facilities such as; Free Wi-Fi, Video, Recreational and Snooker Table etc.,

Mr. N. Reuben Paul, Chairman of Merchant Navy Welfare Board (India) said that it is an honour to remember Capt. Yiannoullou Andreas on this occasion, who was a well known great personality in the shipping industry. He started his career in the shipping Industry as Cadet and became Master Mariner the highest position on ship. Mr. N. Reuben Paul also mentioned, “ Capt. Yiannoullu Andreas was one of the strong supporters of Sea Mission and he sponsored training wings for many deserving trainees and cadets coming from poor families.

Capt. Jacob Head of the Marine Operations at Kakinada sea port added that Kakinada sea port is a friendly port to the seafarers. We understand the needs of seafarers and our team is always prepared to assist seafarers who arrive at our port.

3. GMT Operates Successful Charter Fight to Repatriate Seafarers.

23 July 2020 : Stranded at sea due to the COVID-19 crisis, 210 seafarers from 65 different vessels were successfully repatriated to their homes from Amsterdam (AMS) to Manila (MNL) on a chartered aircraft organized entirely by Global Marine Travel’s dedicated team of travel experts.

On July 8th, GMT organized a chartered aircraft from Qatar Airways for 15 different key customers spanning from Cruise Operators to Ship Owners, Ship Management Companies and Manning Agencies. During the process, all assurances were made that the safety, security and proper testing protocols were followed every step of the way for the crew.

Thanks to the efforts of Global Marine Travel, we were able to send 56 crew members home to the Philippines today through a shared charter flight,” said George Howell, Windstar Cruises’ senior director of guest services. “It’s been extraordinarily complicated to repatriate crew home due to the closure of ports and travel restrictions, and it’s so important to be able to get these colleagues home.”

4. Nigeria : Fake seafarers’ certificate raises concern amongst stakeholders.

22 July 2020 : THE influx of seafarers’ certificate in the Nigerian shipping sub-sector is currently a major source of worry for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and some concerned stakeholders. The issue of fake seafarers’ certification has led to engine of vessels damaged by unqualified sailors that know next to nothing about vessels.

Confirming the development, the spokesman of NIMASA, Mr. Philip Kyanet, told Vanguard Maritime Report that NIMASA was aware of the issue and is already doing something about it. NIMASA’s former Director of Shipping, Captain Waredi Enisouh, also said that previous leaderships of the agency have addressed the menace.

According to him the agency had uploaded all original certificates it issued on a dedicated website for authentications by any interested persons. Enisouh said: “Right from the time NIMASA started issuing seafarers’ certificates, the certificates with the serial numbers are in that particular website. Any employer of seafarer can go to that website to verify the prospective employee’s certificate. During our time Police raided where they forged these certificates at ‘Waterside’ in Apapa; there was a syndicate outside NIMASA.

5. Indian Government announces routeing system to avoid collisions in Arabian Sea.

22 July 2020 : Meeting a long-pending demand, the Ministry of Shipping on Tuesday announced separate operation routes for merchant and fishing vessels in South West Indian waters to minimise accidents and enhance the marine environment.

The Arabian Sea around the south-west coast of India is a busy sea route, with a substantial number of merchant ships passing through the area, along with a large number of fishing vessels operating in the area. It sometimes causes accidents between them, resulting in damage of property and environmental pollution, and in several instances has resulted in the loss of lives also.

Union Minister for State for Shipping (I/C) Mansukh Mandaviya has said that the decision reflects the government’s commitment for ensuring ease of navigation in Indian waters. It will also ensure improvement in avoidance of collision, ease in thflow of traffic along with the safety of life at sea and enhance protection of the marine environment. It is a very proactive and positive step of Directorate General of shipping which will efficiently regulate shipping traffic in this region,” Mandaviya said.

6. Stranded seafarers make direct appeal for more action on crew changes.

22 July 2020 : SEAFARERS have spoken of their pride in providing reliable, constant service during a global pandemic, as well as their dismay at how governments have ignored their plight. As part of our campaign to give seafarers a voice and provide visibility to a largely invisible problem, Lloyd’s List is publishing exclusive videos recorded aboard vessels which offer a face and a voice for the estimated 300,000 crew overdue to leave vessels.

Capt Mridul from the Maersk Ensenada joined the containership three weeks ago from Sri Lanka. Another 10 seafarers accompanied him there to take part in other crew changes but last-minute regulatory hurdles saw them unable to join their vessels, a common scenario as shipmanagers and operations departments worldwide battle inconsistent, ever-changing health, quarantine and immigration restrictions.

Capt Mridul called for other countries besides India and the UK government to recognise seafarers as key workers. Morale is still high on board the containership, Capt Mridul said, with a reminder that global trade was flowing uninterrupted during the pandemic, despite the massive disruptions arising from global lockdowns to control the virus.

7. India : Two units starts operations at JNPT multi-product SEZ.

21 July 2020 : Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) on Monday said two units have started operations at its multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) while three others are expected to commence their construction activities soon.

Spread over 277 hectares, the multi-product port based-SEZ at the country”s premier container port is aimed at boosting exports by enabling port-led industrialisation under Sagarmala initiative of the Shipping Ministry. The foundation stone of the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.

Two units in the SEZ- OWS  LLP and Krish Food Industry (India) have completed their first phase of operational activity and are declared operational units by Development Commissioner, SEEPZ, SEZ, the port operator said in a release. Apart from the first two companies, three more companies are likely to commence their construction activities soon, it added.

For JNPT, this is truly a great occasion as JNPT becomes the first port where Port-led economic development is evolving successfully. The Port is confident of attracting leading global companies for making India a manufacturing hub as the infrastructure development underway in JNPT SEZ is as per the international benchmark.

8. Greek shipowners repeat call for governments to facilitate crew change.

21 July 2020 : With the pandemic continuing to spread around the globe, the need for uninterrupted operation of international shipping, remains vital the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) has emphasised

The statement came from the USG when welcoming the joint declaration of 13 countries, including Greece, and 10 international organisations that “emphatically recognise the need for a substantial solution to the problem of crew changes”.

In a statement the UGS underlines that in order for shipping to fulfil its role, shipping companies must be able to safely and efficiently man their ships and make the necessary crew changes. “However, so far, despite the interventions of international shipping organisations and of many maritime countries, including the Greek government, the various current restrictions on travel around the world are preventing crew changes,” said the UGS.

9. Filipino Cruise Ship Seafarers Might Have To Remain Out Of Work Till 2021.

21 July 2020 : With the USA extending the ban on Cruise ship industry till the end of September, seafarers, especially those working on cruise ships, are facing tremendous repercussions. Pinoy seafarers employed in the cruise ship industry are now seeing bleak possibilities of re-employment in the sector as industry experts deem that normalcy in the cruise industry cannot be expected till the end of 2021.

On Friday, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, headed by Hand Cacdac, said that the industry will be ‘possibly shut’ for the next fiscal year. It is highly unexpected that Filipino seafarers, who account for most of the crew onboard cruise ships, will get back their jobs by the end of 2021. 

The ban on the cruise ship industry, due to the outbreak of coronavirus on various cruise ships, has made the cruise industry suffer it’s biggest economic setback since the 2008 financial crisis. Jojo Sale, the Associated Marine Officers and Seafarers’ Union of the Philippines(AMOSUP) lawyer, said, “What many companies are doing right now is downsizing, cost-cutting.”

10. Foreign seafarers allowed to sign off at Indian ports and go abroad.

20 July 2020 : The sign-off of foreign seafarers will be subject to the standard operating procedures framed by the Directorate General of Shipping. The Government has allowed foreign seafarers to sign off at Indian ports and permitted them to go abroad in Vande Bharat flights, non-scheduled commercial flights or chartered flights.

The permission is applicable to foreign seafarers employed on ships other than cruise ships. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an office memorandum in this regard on Friday. It has also been decided to permit, as a special case, grant of temporary landing permit (TLP) for up to one month by the Immigration Officer concerned to such foreign seafarers who have expired Indian visas subject to their having valid passport and valid seaman’s Identity document (CDC).

The sign-off of foreign seafarers at Indian ports and their repatriation to their home countries will be subject to the standard operating procedures (SOP) framed by the Directorate General of Shipping. The global shipping industry has been battling a crew change crisis after the pandemic-induced travel restrictions and closure of borders halted staff swap on board ships.

11. UK : Thousands of seafarers ‘suffering depression’ after being stranded on ships.

20 July 2020 : Thousands of seafarers from around the world are stuck on ships suffering from “depression and anxiety” because COVID-19 restrictions mean crew changes still can’t take place. The International Transport Workers Federation estimates there could be as many as 600,000 seafarers affected by lockdown measures, with half of them facing financial ruin.

They traditionally work fixed-term contracts but many governments have tightened up regulations during the pandemic and have not allowed seafarers to disembark at some ports. Seafarers would usually be on board ships for between six and nine months, but some have now been at sea for more than a year.

Some are said to have struggled with issues such as claustrophobia while others have missed important family moments such as births and deaths. Portsmouth harbourmaster Ben McInnes, who worked at sea for 12 years, said: “There’s going to be a lot of depression and anxiety around the fleet.

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