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Intermanager publishes open letter to IMO over Singapore crew change restrictions

24 Aug 2020

International trade association for the ship management industry InterManager on Wednesday (19 August) published an open letter addressed to Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, on behalf of its members and associates.

InterManager said the letter urges Lim to offer more support to the global maritime industry with regards to the Singaporean repatriation issue.

Several major seaports throughout Asia have tightened crew change restrictions and stepped up screening of seafarers in recent weeks as the coronavirus stages a global resurgence.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore recently issued correspondence stating that a release which has prompted InterManager to issue an open plea to the IMO’s Secretary-General, it noted.

“If the same rules issued by the MPA of Singapore were applied to all Flag States, it would pose a very dangerous narrative, as ships of other Flag States would not be allowed to perform crew changes anywhere in the world,” said Capt. Kuba Szymanski, Secretary-General, Intermanager. 

“We – ship managers – would be unable to change off-signing crew because they would immediately be in breach of safe manning regulations.

“We completely understand the concerns that Singapore has, and we support their efforts to look after their citizens. 

“However, no ships means no supplies, so a collaboration between the shipping sector and local administration is of paramount importance, and needs to be a two-way street.”

InterManager said it believes that the restrictions imposed on non-Singapore-registered vessels creates a myriad of issues to the safety of seafarers, and presents a significant breach of seafarers’ humanitarian rights. 

“Their approach is everything but human-centric,” said Capt. Szymanski.

Capt. Szymanski noted that officials in Singapore have less than concrete action to help crew repatriation in these troubling times and thinks that recommendations suggested by the MPA are not practical. 

InterManager is encouraging anyone who did manage to carry out crew changes in Singapore to get in touch in order to keep a good record of the scale of the problem.

Related: Singapore: MPA enhances safety measures at port following Covid-19 positive cases

Photo credit: Intermanager
Published: 24 August, 2020

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