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Offshore Industry Group welcomes IMO endorsement of industry developed framework of protocols for Crew Change and Travel

Published on 1 December 2020

The Offshore Industry Group comprising IADC, IAGC, IMCA, IOGP, ISOA and the Workboat Association (details below) welcomes the endorsement by the IMO Member States of the Framework of Protocols developed by the wider Shipping Industry to facilitate safe crew change and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protocols include:

  • practical steps for joining and leaving ships, recognising the tightened border restrictions imposed due to the pandemic
  • the need for compliance and strict adherence with COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements
  • measures to prevent infection on board ships
  • the need for Governments to designate seafarers as ‘key workers’, providing an essential service.

The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) met virtually from 4 – 10 November and approved an MSC circular thereby giving government-level recognition to the industry-developed protocols.

Additionally, the Committee agreed to develop a universal, non-text logo or symbol, to promote awareness of resources dedicated to seafarers and offshore energy sector personnel and to guide them in identifying and accessing dedicated resources and processes on ship, in port and in transit to and from ships. This will be carried out in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The Industry Group recognises the initiative the IMO Member States have shown and thanks them for their support.

“We remain concerned about the mental health, safety and efficiency impacts resulting from the inability for seafarers and key workers in the offshore energy sector to travel to/from their families. They remain critical to ensure the world has access to food, medicine, energy and other supplies at this challenging time for society. We welcome the IMO endorsement and encourage governments to do their part by enabling travel possibilities at pace”.

The Industry Group looks forward to the IMO Member States’ commitments being translated into action.

“We are optimistic that this endorsement will now encourage governments to implement the Protocols in their national territories, to overcome the issues which continue to impact crew changes causing concern for all seafarers and offshore energy workers globally”.

Note to Editors on the IMO approval process at the Maritime Safety Committee

Document MSC 102/22/8, submitted to the 102nd session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and co-sponsored by the Cook Islands, Malaysia, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, ICS, INTERCARGO and WSC, proposed that the Committee recognize the industry-led Recommended Framework of Protocols related to safe ship crew changes and issue an MSC circular accordingly.

The Framework of Protocols (initially issued by the Secretary-General on 6 May 2020 as Circular Letter 4204/Add.14 and revised and re-issued on 5 October as Circular Letter 4204/Add.14/rev.1) will be reissued via an official IMO Circular (MSC.1/Circ.1636) in due course. This was one of a number of actions taken by the Committee to support efforts by UN agencies, the maritime industry and Governments to address the crew change crisis, a very serious humanitarian issue for seafarers which threatens the safety of navigation and world trade.

National Focal Points on Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers have been published by IMO in Circular MSC.7/Circ.1/Rev.11 and up-to-date information on ports which facilitate crew changes will be made available through IMO’s Global Integrated Information System (GISIS).

About the Offshore Industry Group

The Offshore Industry Group comprises international associations whose member companies are engaged in essential elements of the global offshore energy sector; whose personnel perform a wide variety of specialised roles which are all critical to the daily functioning of maintaining global energy supplies.

About IADC –The International Association of Drilling Contractors

Established in 1940, IADC operates on 6 continents, and its members are acknowledged leaders in onshore and offshore drilling operations around the world. IADC is globally recognized for its work in providing: accreditation programs for a competent global upstream energy workforce, technical publications serving industry and regulatory authorities, international conferences, and collaborative government-industry advocacy work. IADC’s collective efforts contribute to operational proficiencies that underpin the world’s upstream energy industry while sustaining high standards of safety, environmental stewardship and operational efficiency.

About IAGC – International Association of Geophysical Contractors

The IAGC is the global trade association for the geophysical and exploration industry, the cornerstone of the energy industry. Our membership includes onshore and offshore survey operators and acquisition companies, data and processing providers, exploration and production companies, equipment and software manufacturers, industry suppliers, and service providers. The IAGC supports and fosters science- and risk-based regulations consistent with existing practices that are proven to be environmentally responsible, effective and operationally feasible. ​

About IMCA – The International Marine Contractors Associations

IMCA represents the vast majority of offshore marine contractors and the associated supply chain in the world, with members from over 60 countries. It publishes an extensive technical library of guidance documents on operational good practice, safety promotional materials, timely information notes and safety flashes. Its members benefit from a technical structure comprising four main technical divisions covering Offshore Diving, Marine, Remote Systems & ROVs, and Offshore Surveying.

About IOGP – The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) is the voice of the global upstream industry. Oil and gas continue to provide a significant proportion of the world’s energy to meet growing demands for heat, light and transport. Our Members produce 40% of the world’s oil and gas. They operate in all producing regions: the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Caspian, Asia and Australia. We serve industry regulators as a global partner for improving safety, environmental and social performance. We also act as a uniquely upstream forum in which our Members identify and share knowledge and good practices to achieve improvements in health, safety, the environment, security and social responsibility.

About ISOA – The international Support Vessel Owners’ Association

ISOA is the international trade association for owners/operators of support vessels in the offshore energy sector, including Platform Supply Vessels (PSV) and Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTS), as well as other vessel types.

ISOA’s objective is to promote best practice within its sector of the industry, with particular focus on safety, application of consistent and practical standards – whether through regulation or industry promoted schemes, together with the welfare and training of seafarers who are employed in the sector. ISOA provides a forum where its members can discuss these common interests.

About The Workboat Association (WA)

The Workboat Association formed in 1994 to facilitate an industry input into the formulation of the UK ‘Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s’ Workboat Code of Practice. Today the WA provides to a growing industry of workboat Owners, Operators, Stakeholders, and independent Professionals from within the UK and spread across the globe.

Remaining a not-for-profit, membership funded/ owned association, the WA’s scope offers towards those Operating or Supporting Workboats in the UK, to UK regulations, or those simply aiming to benchmark their own standards of practice against a well adopted, respected and understood standard – as the WA promote.

News Coverage

Date Article Source
1 December 2020 MIL-OSI Energy: Offshore Industry Group welcomes IMO endorsement of industry developed framework of protocols for Crew Change and Travel