International Chamber of Shipping COVID-19 Working Group

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The Chamber of Shipping participates in this working group of the International Chamber of Shipping with ship owners from around the globe. The following summary of the March 23, 2020 meeting is provided:

  1.  The ICS and the International Transport Workers’ Federation sent a joint letter to the United Nations outlining the importance of keeping ship and ports operating safely in order to deliver critical goods during the response to the pandemic. It also outlines the importance of being able to allow access for seafarers to nations and ports globally to conduct crew changes safely.
  2. The International Chamber of Shipping and the International Association of Ports and Harbours sent a joint letter to member countries of the G20 calling on G20 leaders to act quickly to protect global supply chains from the impact of COVID-19.
  3.  It was noted that Singapore banned crew changes within the past 24 hours and that this could signal an extremely negative precedent. The ICS is compiling a single list of the different approaches being taken by countries globally. Canada is recognized globally as taking a safe and pragmatic approach to port operations and crew changes.
  4. At the request of the IMO, the ICS drafted a circular regarding the need to maintain port operations and access for seafarers. It is currently under review by the IMO and expected to be issued later this week.
  5.  Some nations are seeing in an increase in the cases of crew abandonment. All countries agreed that this is completely unacceptable and that all nations must address this directly and through the IMO.
  6. Repatriation of crew members is proving challenging. For example, the Philippines has 30,000 seafarers seeking repatriation globally.

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