New restrictions are driving up costs and countries vacillate between allowing and then barring crew changes, but lessons have been learned say ship managers.
Wallem Shipmanagement’s, John Kaare Aune, says that crew change lessons have been learned, but adds that, ” Many governments would say they were open for crew changes but then were putting so many obstacles or hurdles in place that it was extremely difficult to get the permissions to organise them”.
He cited the difficulties caused by China by refusing to allow foreign crews in and said the cost of repatriation flights for Chinese crews could cost nearly ten times the normal rate. He also pointed the finger at India, when early on in the pandemic, she barred her own nationals from travelling in or out of the country.
Mutated strains have added to companies’ problems and many countries have reimposed travel restrictions, making it difficult to obtain visas and flights.
However, Chief Executive of Columbia Shipmanagment, Mark O’Neil, said a “maturing response” helped in the second wave of infection: ” “When we came to the second wave, we found the crewing departments were battle-hardened and better able to take problems and pressures in their stride”.