Crew crisis improves, but IMO warns against complacency

Image: IMO.

IMO welcomes reduction in number of mariners stuck at sea, but urges caution and says “the crew crisis is far from over”.

The International Maritime Organisation secretary-general, Kitack Lim, has urged caution after new figures show the number of seafarers caught up in the crew crisis has been cut by half.

An estimated 400,000 mariners were unable to return home because of travel and quarantine regulations in September last year, but according to the IMO, the figure was cut to 200,000 by March this year, with the same number waiting to join ships.

The IMO, a body of the United Nations, said in a statement: “The crew crisis is far from over”.

Mr Lim urged more governments to recognize crew as key workers and prioritize them for vaccination, saying they had worked “beyond the call of duty”.

“Fewer than 60 countries so far have heeded our call for seafarers to be designated as key workers,” he said.

“More countries need to do so if we are to resolve this crisis and ensure seafarers are treated fairly and so that their travel to and from their place of work is properly facilitated. There is still a long way to go before we are back to a normal crew-change regime.”

He added that differing vaccination programmes and protocols around the world could complicate the crisis and wants the industry to develop guidance on vaccination for seafarers.

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