The International Maritime Organization has the power.
By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent
PANAMA CITY — The Panama Maritime Authority asked the International Maritime Organization and the secretary-general, Kitack Lim, to mediate and assist seafarers and shipowners impacted by the ongoing Far East shipping crisis.
The situation between Australia and China has stranded 74 vessels and more than 1,500 crew members of several nationalities confined to their vessels.
“Our mission in this regard is to find a reasonable and positive solution for the crew of these ships to return home,” notes a statement from the Maritime Authority.
“Let us remember that on September 21, 2020, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted Resolution MSC.473 (ES.2) on recommended measures to facilitate changes in ship crews, access to medical care, and travel of seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols developed by the industry to ensure crew changes and safe travel during the pandemic set out in MSC.1 / Circ.1636.”
The same statement also notes that IMO has the diplomatic powers that “can help us expose before the competent authorities that due to a commercial disagreement, the human rights and well-being of the crews of these ships are being ignored.”
The ongoing crew change crisis has been exacerbated by the Australia and China dispute over coal, notes The Maritime Executive.