8 May 2020

IMO issues plans to free seafarers around Pacific and beyond

8:17 pm on 8 May 2020

The International Maritime Organisation has issued a 12-step plan to free seafarers from the Pacific and other regions from lockdown restrictions.

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Photo: 123rf.com

The IMO said tens of thousands of seafarers were currently trapped on ships across the globe due to ongoing travel restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With extended times on ship and increased workload, many seafarers had been experiencing isolation and health problems.

A 12-step plan had been put to the IMO's 174 member states for coordinated procedures to allow exemptions for seafarers to safely join or leave ships.

Seafarer unions, international shipping industry associations, and the insurance sector were among those who contributed to the plan.

It was aimed at facilitating crew change-overs while resolving safety concerns throughout the entire process.

Within a fortnight, approximately 150,000 merchant seafarers were required to be changed over to ensure compliance with international maritime regulations.

The IMO warned that failure to do so risked the wellbeing of seafarers, maritime safety, as well as the supply chains the world relied on.