The crew change crisis is far from over and issues around vaccination need to be resolved.
The crew change crisis caused by COVID-19 restrictions continues to cause challenges, despite some improvement in the numbers, the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has warned.
In a statement, Secretary-General Kitack Lim said that based on industry analysis, the numbers of seafarers requiring repatriation after finishing their contracts had declined - from a high of around 400,000 in September 2020 - to around 200,000 as of March 2021, with a similar number waiting to join ships. However, this number could rise again. But the crew change crisis is far from over. Importantly, issues around vaccination need to be resolved.
Now, more than ever, seafarers need to be designated as key workers to ensure priority vaccination and access to safe transit and travel, Mr. Lim said.