Gearbulk signs declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing & Crew Change

2 July 2020

Gearbulk joins forces with more than 450 companies and organisations to help resolve the humanitarian crisis that has left 400,000 seafarers stranded onboard ships around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significant impacts on seafarers around the world. To prevent virus infection, many countries have imposed bans or restrictions on travel and crew changes, making it difficult for seafarers to join their ships or return home.

In December 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced that approximately 400,000 seafarers are stranded on ships beyond the expiry of their contracts, while another 400.000 seafarers were unable to get to work.

To protect the rights and wellbeing of the seafarers, Gearbulk signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarers Wellbeing and Crew Change – a global call to action to end the ongoing crew change crisis.

The Maritime Industry Crew Change Taskforce developed the declaration after the Global Maritime Forum’s 2020 Virtual High-Level Meeting.

Commits for 4 Key Actions

The declaration is a joint global “call to action” to revitalise and underline the ongoing crewing crisis. It focuses on actions needed to ensure crew changes and safeguard global supply chains:

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

The present situation for seafarers worldwide clearly shows that they have not yet received the status of being Key Workers. The challenges continue, both related to legislation and actions taken in port, and actions taken by cargo owners and charterers.

The Neptune Declaration is developed by The Maritime Industry Crew Change Taskforce which consists of organisations such as the Global Maritime Forum, International Chamber of Shipping, International Maritime Employers’ Council, and the World Economic Forum.

Learn more about the Neptune Declaration and see the full list of undersigning companies and organisations here.