Seafarers have been greatly impacted by Covid-19. Many crew members have now been at sea for an extended period, beyond the time stipulated in their employment contracts, and often beyond the period allowed by law.
Governments, unions, organisations, port authorities and the IMO are trying to resolve the issue of crew changes. Lock down restrictions imposed by states, limited number of flights, and various visa requirements are some of the issues that impede the repatriation of seafarers.
Steps are now being taken to rectify the situation by easing visa requirements and lock down measures to allow repatriation in certain circumstances.
Governments and the shipping industry must continue the efforts to resolve this issue, which has gone on for too long.
We owe it to our seafarers to prioritise their repatriation and allow crew changes to take place as safely as possible.