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Day of the Seafarer: Canada commended for crew-change protocols

Jun 25, 2020 09:17 AM

Canadian ship operators have collaborated on detailed best practices during COVID-19

Courtesy Chamber of Marine Commerce

The following is text of a news release from the Chamber of Marine Commerce:

(OTTAWA) — The Chamber of Marine Commerce extends its gratitude to the 1.2 million seafarers around the world who have gone above and beyond to deliver vital supplies during the pandemic, and supports the International Maritime Organization’s call today for all countries to recognize seafarers as key workers and to facilitate crew changes.

The International Maritime Organization celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Day of the Seafarer on June 25 with a campaign focused on calling on governments to provide support, assistance and travel options for international seafarers to return home during the pandemic. Many international crew have worked several months beyond their contracts, exceeding regulatory limits, and ship owners, unions and captains have sounded the alarm over safety.

Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said that Canada was a good model for safe crew changes.

“The Canadian government has to be commended for drawing attention to the importance of maritime trade in overcoming the pandemic and designating seafarers as essential workers from the beginning of this crisis. Officials have worked closely with our industry to put in place all the necessary safety protocols, while working through any travel complications that have arisen,” he said. “Canadian domestic crew changes have continued uninterrupted and our seafarers are able to return home for much-needed leave. These breaks are absolutely crucial to their well-being and the safe operation of vessels.”

To ensure that supply chains remain uninterrupted, Canadian ship operators have collaborated to create a detailed set of best practices to protect their crews and shoreside employees during COVID-19. “For example, our shipowners have recognized the value of providing safe and secure workplaces for crewmembers who are working tirelessly through COVID-19,” said Burrows.

Fleets from Algoma Central Corp., Canada Steamship Lines, Rand Logistics Inc., Groupe Desgagnes, McKeil Marine, McAsphalt Transportation Services, and Sterling Fuels are all part of the initiative, which was led by the Chamber of Marine Commerce. More than 85 Canadian-flag ships are participating — ranging from tug and barges and tankers to bulk carriers and general cargo vessels — all delivering goods throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, and the East Coast.

For more details on COVID-19 best practices, click here.

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