The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) supports the call to action for governments to recognise offshore energy sector workers and seafarers as Key Workers on a global basis.
Offshore Energy workers and seafarers have not yet been classified as Key Workers in many countries. This means that crew movement to and from ships is severely hampered by stringent border control measures adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to a crisis at sea: there are 200,000 workers who have overrun their contracts and are currently stranded on ships. Another 200,000 are at shore, waiting to start their tours of duty. IMCA has been supporting a number of its Member companies by working closely with other global offshore organisations calling upon IMO Member States to facilitate long overdue crew changes.
This is a global issue – we have heard of crewing problems on every continent. However, there is a clear solution. A 12-step crew change road map has been developed by the wider shipping Industry, of which IMCA is a part, and which the IMO Secretary-General has recommended Member States to implement. The shipping community has been hard at work lobbying on behalf of offshore energy workers and seafarers alike. However, many national governments have not acted. Crew changes are still too few and too far apart and thousands of workers are stranded.
Changing the classification of these workers would facilitate movement and enable crew changes to take place during these challenging times.
Call to action 8 July
To raise awareness and remind politicians ahead of a summit, led by the UK Government, on 9 July to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on maritime industries, the International Chamber of Shipping and other associations are urging their members, shipowners and port operators to encourage vessel masters to sound their ship’s whistle on 8 July at 12.00hrs.IMCA asks its Members to support this cause and participate on 8 July, providing it is safe to do so.