Covid restrictions still frustrating many at sea

Date: Monday, February 27, 2023
Source: Splash 24/7

The world is by and large living in a post-covid environment with life back to normal. Not at sea, however, where some restrictions remain in place.

There are still a few seafarers working beyond their contracts, and the odd covid flare-up, such as in China at the start of the year, has some port states instituting quick crew change restrictions.

Likewise, the partner and child procedure onboard has not fully reverted to pre-pandemic times.

Before 2020, many shipping companies allowed certain ranks to be accompanied by their partners, while a master and chief engineer could also being a child with them. This policy came to a halt with covid.

A survey among members of Intermanager, the association for third party shipmanagers, shows 37% of the membership have yet to allow partners and children back onboard.

Seafarers endured incredible strains during the pandemic, working far longer than stipulated, and often in very strict conditions.

A joint action group created by four United Nations agencies including the International Maritime Organization (IMO) together with employer and worker bodies issued a series of recommendations last month to better protect transport workers from the impact of future health crises.

The recommendations set out steps to protect transport workers, including improving how UN bodies and agencies and sectoral organisations can quickly and efficiently share information and coordinate actions during public health emergencies. They also call on governments to take concrete actions to protect the rights of transport workers during future public health emergencies of international concern, as well as with the continued impact of the covid pandemic.

“The covid-19 pandemic has presented the transport sector with considerable and, at times, unbearable challenges, threatening the sectors’ sustainability, as well as the lives and livelihoods of its workers. We need to make sure that we are better prepared for future emergencies,” commented Gilbert Houngbo, director-general of the International Labour Organization.


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