IMO updates safe crew change protocols

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Image: IMO

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has updated its protocols for ensuring safe crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, IMO says, some 400,000 seafarers from across the globe are now stranded on ships, continuing to work but unable to be relieved, in a deepening crew change crisis which threatens trade and maritime safety.

The framework of protocols was first issued on May 5, 2020, and has now been revised, with the principle purpose of emphasizing the need for compliance and strict adherence with COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements, reflecting that these are now a reality in many national jurisdictions.

The changes also reinforce the importance of seafarers not commencing or continuing to travel if they feel unwell or suspect that they may have COVID-19 symptoms.

Some additional recommendations have also been included to prevent infection on board when seafarers join their ship.

With the exception of a few minor edits, no other substantive changes have been made.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim expressed his support for these protocols and urged their implementation.

  • Download the updated protocols HERE.
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