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Port states called out for their (deliberate) inaction

Crew change

Anglo-Eastern Univan Group blames port states’ non-cooperation for the crew change crisis

In an emotionally-charged piece on LinkedIn, Bjørn Højgaard, CEO of the Hong Kong shipowner condemned the inaction towards the seafarers that kept our supply chains going. An act he called “unconscionable”.

The missing outrage
Incensed at the heinous treatment (towards seafarers) today, Højgaard criticised: “Since the pandemic, crewing departments around the world scrambled to facilitate crew change against increasingly difficult odds. Seafarers at home are often unable to get a contract, perhaps because they live in countries with high COVID-19 risks. Crew onboard are also increasingly being treated as pariahs…” He added that it did not occur to anyone that these seafarers are facing the constant fear of interacting with colleagues who are possibly infected – just like any individual ashore.

Højgaard was flabbergasted at the outrageous differences (in treatment) towards the same group of people from two years ago and today. Crew change was then a breeze and signing-off could be completed in a matter of days. Shore leave with family was highly treasured, not to mention timely discharge.

Højgaard stressed shipowners and managers are doing everything in their power to execute crew change against a constantly changing and increasingly impossible backdrop. He highlighted, “The real culprits are the ports and nations who decided that they want the ships and their cargo, but disallow crew change. No part of this supply chain is an island, and we cannot do it alone. Without the willingness of all stakeholders (crew, owners, managers, flag and port states, and charterers), the integrity of the supply chain is at risk, as are individual lives and livelihoods.”

Apart from the discontent, Højgaard advocated the seafarers’ relentless commitment to keep the world fed, clothed, and having access to medical supplies. He found no reason to reciprocate with blatant refusals to extend reasonable assistance. “Charterers are willing to move the cargo, also to ports that refuse crew change, and sometimes even refuse medical support toward emergencies. Shipowners and managers are willing to put their ships to use for these cargoes, despite the fact that their employees are on the receiving end of these ports’ unsustainable rejection of crew change… In a word, it is simply unconscionable.” he lamented.


Crewing Online News Team
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