In a worldwide call to action to end the unprecedented crew change deadlock caused by COVID-19, over 300 companies and organizations have joined forces to help resolve what has become a humanitarian crisis on the world’s oceans.
Hundreds of thousands of seafarers have been stranded working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their contracts. As the frontline workers of the maritime industry carrying 90% of global trade, seafarers play a vital role in ensuring the global flow of goods that the world depends on.
Among the signatories to a new Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Chang are A.P. Møller – Mærsk, BP, BW, Cargill, COSCO, DOW, Euronav, MISC Group, NYK, Rio Tinto, Shell, Trafigura, Unilever and Vale.
The Neptune Declaration defines four main actions to facilitate crew changes and keep global supply chains functioning:
- Recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to COVID-19 vaccines;
- Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice;
- Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes; and
- Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers.
The Neptune Declaration has been developed by a taskforce of stakeholders from across the maritime value chain including A. M. Nomikos, Cargill, Dorian LPG, GasLog, Global Maritime Forum, International Chamber of Shipping, International Maritime Employers’ Council, International Transport Workers’ Federation, ONE, Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Sustainable Shipping Initiative, Synergy Group, V. Group, and World Economic Forum.