IMO has held the latest in a series of regional events to identify best practices and help alleviate the current crisis affecting seafarers and the shipping industry. The Asia regional webinar (4-5 November) featured 13 speakers from across maritime administrations, governments, UN partners and international shipping organizations.
They gave insights into a number of key issues, including their particular approaches to travel, quarantine measures, medical guidance, digital certification, e-learning courses. UN partners provided an update on travel-related guidance, IMO action (including measures being considered at IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee this week) and the current situation affecting seafarers. A major recurring theme was the need for interagency cooperation at all levels – local, regional and national.
In his opening remarks, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim reiterated his call for all stakeholders to work together to facilitate crew changes and that this series of regional webinars will be crucial in helping to identify practical solutions.
Further information about the webinar, including a list of speakers and video recordings of the webinar, will be uploaded here. The next webinar in the series, for Western Asia / Eastern Europe, will be held on 13 November.
On the other hand IMO and UNWTO encourage the cruise industry and Governments to continue their efforts to enable cruise ship operations to resume safely.
a joint statement issued on 5 November, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) highlight the importance of the cruise sector for the world economy. According to industry data, the cruise sector supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes US$150 billion to the global economy every year Tourism is vitally important for Small Islands States, where it sustains millions of livelihoods and brings substantial socio-economic benefits.
The two UN agencies also recognise the efforts made by the industry, countries and international organizations to protect the safety, health and well-being of passengers and crew, as well as the health of the population of destination port States of cruise ships. Since cruise operations were suspended worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has been reviewing and enhancing its protocols to identify ways to go further in protecting the health of passengers, crew and the general public.
The joint statement invites Governments to use the Guidance on the gradual and safe resumption of operations of cruise ships in the European Union in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic (shared by IMO in Circular Letter No 4204/Add.26) to facilitate the recovery of the sector under safe conditions, as well as three framework documents (operator framework, passenger framework and seafarer framework) developed by the United Kingdom’s Chamber of Shipping together with CLIA.
IMO and UNWTO emphasise that the resumption of cruise ship operations will also benefit the wider maritime community, since passenger ships participate in the automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue (AMVER) and are often requested by Rescue Coordination Centres to offer assistance to ships in distress at sea.
IMO and UNWTO reiterate their call to Governments to designate all seafarers and marine personnel as key workers and remove any barriers to crew changes. (Download CL.No.4204/Add.33)