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Mintra signs Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change

13 / 04 / 2021

Mintra has added its support to a global campaign to highlight the humanitarian crisis faced by the shipping industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has become a signatory of the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, which calls for action to resolve the plight of hundreds of thousands of personnel stranded on ships.

Restrictions on movement have caused an unprecedented crew change crisis, with seafarers being forced to remain onboard vessels long beyond the expiry of their contracts. Conversely, those currently on land are unable to travel to join their ships.

The situation has developed despite the critical role that the maritime industry plays in the global supply chain. Some 80% of trade – food, medicine, and energy included – is transported by sea, yet seafarers are not recognised as essential key workers.

There have been significant efforts over the past year to help those affected – including the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution on international co-operation to address the challenges – but the number of seafarers still stranded at sea, and facing significant strain on their physical and mental health, is significant.

Over 750 organisations have now signed up to the Declaration, recognising the shared responsibility to solve the crew change emergency. It calls for four main actions:

  • Recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
  • Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
  • Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers

Scott Kerr, CEO of Mintra, said the current situation facing seafarers was unacceptable. He added: “We work with the maritime industry to create safe and compliant people, but the fatigue experienced after extended periods at sea compromises all that we are striving to achieve.

“Fatigue affects the individual in terms of their health and mental wellbeing, and it also increases the risk of incidents and accidents that could harm human life and the environment. This situation undermines the global supply chain, which relies on seafarers to deliver safe and reliable operations.

“While Covid-19 is currently the main focus, we need to find solutions to the crew change issue now before any future global disruption occurs and key workers, such as seafarers, are severely impacted again.”