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IMO Issues 12-steps Guideline to Facilitate Crew Change

The maritime industry has been facing a crew change crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic which impacted the whole world.  Travel restrictions imposed by various countries make it difficult for people to travel, much less carry out crew change. 

In a bid to resolve this crisis and to get the on board seafarers out of the COVID-19 lockdown, the industry and unions have come together to work out a solution.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has issued a 12-step guideline to its 174 member states with a global framework to expedite the process of crew change.


The detailed 55-page roadmap ( clearly sets out the responsibility of governments, shipowners, transport providers and seafarers. The guideline also provides a framework to develop sound procedures that can be adopted worldwide to ensure that sea trade will not be interrupted and seafarers can be relieved.

Guy Platten, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) highlighted: ““Seafarers continue to work really hard, day-in, day-out and far away from loved ones, but if we are not able to free our seafarers from their COVID-19 lockdown we could start to see disruption to trade and more importantly we increase the risk of accident and occurrences of mental health issues. Putting this off is no longer an option.”

In the coming two weeks, approximately 150,000 seafarers need to be changed over to ensure compliance with the international maritime regulations.  With so many seafarers needing to be changed over, this will spell embarkation opportunities for seafarers ashore. 

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