Wilhelmsen and Synergy Group have carried out the first crew change under the Singapore Crew Change Working Group (SGCCWG) protocol, a set of guidelines formulated to address the challenges of transferring seafarers in the COVID-19 era. In a carefully planned evolution, 19 new crewmembers flew from Sri Lanka to Singapore, where they relieved the 19-member crew of the bulker Genco Liberty.
“It is encouraging to see how regulators, industry bodies, customers and indeed competitors now coming together to address such a critical matter, the welfare of seafarers. As port agents, we are committed to supporting the industry in any way we can to get our seafarers home, and new crews redeployed safely and efficiently,” said Wilhelmsen Ships Agency EVP Neal De Roche.
The off-going nineteen members of the Liberty’s crew will now return home via a chartered flight from Singapore to Colombo, then on to India. Their colleagues – fourteen Sri Lankans and four Indian seafarers who arrived from Sri Lanka early Saturday on the same chartered plane – have signed on aboard the ship.
Unlike the many port states that have banned seafarer travel, Singapore allows crew changes under stringent procedures established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). As an example, the oncoming crewmembers for Genco Liberty were asked to remain in home quarantine for 14 days and test negative for COVID-19 before their chartered departure flight. They were met at the airport by an agent with private ground transportation that complied with safe distancing measures. Face masks – required by Singaporean regulations – were provided for all.
Image courtesy Wilhelmsen
Image courtesy Wilhelmsen
For the crew signing off, an approved doctor certified that they were fit to travel prior to departure. No passenger boats were shared between crew and service technicians. The crew went to the airport in private transport and fresh face masks and hand sanitizer were provided for all before boarding.
“At Synergy Group we have desperately been trying to conduct crew changes since the outbreak of COVID-19. In early March, we proposed the idea of a safe corridor for seafarers to facilitate crew changes, founded an alliance of leading maritime companies in April to push for collective crew changes and most recently have been one of the participants in the Singapore Crew Change Working Group,” said Capt. Rajesh Unni, the founder and CEO of Synergy Group. “By enabling a full complement of Sri Lanka and Indian seafarers to join and disembark . . . [the Singaporean government and MPA] have shown the world that crew changeovers for seafarers of other nationalities are possible even during a pandemic.”
Moving seafarers in India
India has also implemented protocols for crew changes, and the transfer effort is well under way. To date, ship manager Fleet Management Limited has arranged crew changes for over 432 seafarers aboard 34 vessels in 12 ports across India, more than any of its competitors. Including this tally, Fleet has exchanged 1127 crewmembers worldwide, including 609 in China and 84 more in the Philippines.
“As we navigate the global crisis, we never lose sight of the wellbeing of our seafarers,” said Kishore Rajvanshy, Managing Director, Fleet Management Limited. “While travel restrictions, border control and quarantine measures are posing manifold logistical challenges on crew rotation, our crewing department is working relentlessly to manage crew change as smoothly as possible.”
Fleet says that it is continuing to explore charter flight possibilities to solve the crew change and repatriation challenge.
“A third of our seafarers are currently working at sea beyond their contractual lengths, but cannot return home due to the travel restriction. This has a direct bearing on their mental wellbeing,” said Capt. Prashant Rangnekar, the COO of Fleet’s Indian recruitment division, Elegant Marine Services. To help its employees in these challenging times, Fleet has launched a counseling hotline in partnership with Sailor’s Society.
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]