Norden joins call to end crew change crisis
Norden has today joined over 300 organisations across the maritime value chain – including Mærsk, BP, BW, Cargill, COSCO, DOW, Rio Tinto, Shell and Trafigura – in signing the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change.
The declaration is a worldwide call to end what has been described as a "humanitarian crisis at sea" caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands of seafarers are still stranded, working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their initial contracts. Many have not been relieved since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The situation is worsening once again as governments bring in more travel bans to combat new strains of the virus.
The Neptune Declaration calls for four main actions:
Recognise 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
Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers.
"For Norden it is a priority that crews are able to disembark and travel home safely but we face many challenges in this," said Benedicte Hedengran Wegener, Head of Operations, Asset Management, NordeN.
Seafarers typically work between four and eight months on ships, followed by a period of leave. However, extensive periods at sea, in some cases, over 17 months, have become common due to Covid-19. In the autumn of 2020, the UN International Maritime Organisation estimated that around 400,000 seafarers were on their ships beyond the expiry of their contract, while another 400,000 seafarers were unable to get to work.
"Throughout the pandemic, seafarers have kept the world supplied with food, energy and other vital goods. This declaration is a recognition of the vital role they play, and that we all in the industry need to contribute to the protection of the crew onboard," said Wegener.