• 2020 March 27 09:20

    Synergy Group calls for collective action on shipping’s coronavirus crewing crisis

    The organisation of collective crew changes at key hub ports by ship managers and owners has the potential to solve the seafarer welfare crisis currently threatening global supply chains, believes Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO of leading Singapore-based ship manager Synergy Group, which employs over 12,000 seafarers on more than 300 vessels.
     
    “I believe that collective, carefully managed crew changes at designated ports could help us tackle this crisis,” said Captain Unni.
     
    “Seafarers returning home would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, of course. And those joining ships would need to pass a mandatory medical, including a Covid-19 test.
     
    “Even if Covid-19 infections subside, which we all hope they will do, putting a plan in place now will be good preparation for the future.”
     
    Over 1.6 million seafarers keep the world’s merchant fleet at sea, delivering fuel, medicines, food and equipment to those countries where large portions of the population are currently under curfew as governments try to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
     
    However, as a number of organisations including Human Rights at Sea and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have made clear in recent days, the closure of borders and strict quarantine rules are preventing crew changes from being completed in accordance with employment contracts and international conventions including the Maritime Labour Convention.
     
    The upshot is that thousands of seafarers are now stuck on ships unable to return home. Moreover, for those stranded at sea, conditions are deteriorating rapidly.
     
    “In many ports crew changes are simply prohibited,” said Captain Unni. “Elsewhere, vessels from some origins are now forced to remain at anchorage in quarantine for up to 14 days before they can dock.
     
    “To make matters worse, it is also becoming increasingly difficult for crew to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables such are the restrictions placed on port agents and captains.
     
    “And how are seafarers with medical conditions supposed to get treatments if they can’t leave the vessel?
     
    “This is a safety issue and it’s a mental health issue.
     
    “Seafarers are key workers and they need to be treated with more respect and support. People in any profession should have the right to return home and see their families.”
     
    To facilitate the continuation of world trade without interruption and to protect the human rights and mental well-being of seafarers, Captain Unni is now reaching out to like-minded stakeholders to expedite collective crew changes.
     
    “We have already spoken to a number of leading ship owners and they agree this is a positive way forward,” he said. “We have also identified a number of ports where we think this can be actioned.
     
    “We are now approaching leading shipping organisations and have contacted the IMO about how we can move this forward with the utmost haste.”
     
    In any given month around 100,000 seafarers reach the end of their employment contracts and are repatriated, according to ICS.
     
    “This is a time bomb,” said Captain Unni. “Even under normal circumstance, seafaring is stressful and involves spending long periods of time away from friends and family.
     
    “Right now, in the midst of a pandemic when of course people are anxious, thousands are stuck at sea or stranded around the world waiting to join vessels but unable to do so.
     
    “I have heard the argument that seafarers are safest at sea waiting this out. But nobody knows how long this pandemic will last. Doing nothing is not a plan.
     
    “The inability to enact crew changes is a threat to the mental health of seafarers. They can’t stay at sea indefinitely.
     
    “This also has the potential to disrupt the global supply chains millions are relying on in these terrible times. Seafarers will only put up with this uncertainty and poor treatment for so long, and rightly so.
     
    “We all need to come together and find solutions that help our seafarers and protect world trade.”
     
    About Synergy
     
    The Synergy Group, with over a decade of experience as a leading shipmanager, offers end-to-end maritime solutions and services tailored to the specific requirements of clients. In-depth technical expertise and a diverse product portfolio enable Synergy to generate efficiency and productivity gains to enhance the customer experience for all clients.

    Headquartered in the globally connected city-state of Singapore, Synergy’s hallmark is its through-life approach to asset management and maritime solutions custom-designed to client requirements.

    Now with 13 offices in six key maritime centres and over 270 vessels under management, Synergy supervises a diverse fleet which includes LPG tankers, chemical tankers, oil tankers (VLCC, Suezmax, Aframax, LR2, LR1 and MR), container vessels in the 1,800 TEU-20,000+ TEU range and every size of bulk carrier.

    Synergy’s holistic approach to seafarer wellness and operational excellence was recognised last year when it won the prestigious 2019 Lloyd's List Excellence in Maritime Services & Ship Management Award and the Seatrade Award for Investment in People.




2020 March 31

18:06 APM Terminals Nigeria donates $US 200,000 to UN Nigeria Basket Fund
17:51 New publication offers updated maritime security guidance for mariners operating off West Africa and Gulf of Guinea
17:36 Manila ports fear shut down due to continued cargo congestion
17:20 Floating workshop of RF Navy's Baltic Fleet completed tasks in Mediterranean Sea
17:06 Yang Ming reveals 2019 financial report
16:55 State Duma of Russia approved in first reading expansion of resource base for LNG production projects
16:23 Rolls-Royce supplies innovative propulsion system for new multi-purpose vessels in the North and Baltic Seas
16:18 Nauticor and Novatek cooperate in the development of small-scale LNG supply infrastructure in the Baltic Sea
15:28 Bunker prices continue going down at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
15:04 ClassNK establishes "Rules for the Survey and Construction of Governmental and Naval Ships"
14:42 NOVATEK declares LNG transshipment in Norway to be a temporary measure caused by Covid-19 pandemic
14:23 Wärtsilä Translink becomes first ever solution fully compliant with latest IEC and DNV GL Cyber Security rules
13:36 Krasnoye Sormovo to build three more ships of RSD59 design
13:09 Hapag-Lloyd revises North Europe – CAF May 1, 2020
12:51 Navigation season opens at Coal Sea Port of Shakhtersk
12:27 Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard completed sea and mooring trials of Pola Yaroslava, dry cargo carrier of Project RSD59
12:09 Verifavia partners with OSM Maritime Group to provide IHM services
11:44 Operations under quarantine arranged by Troitsa Bay Seaport (MPBT)
11:30 Vostochny Port arranged operations under quarantine
11:08 ABS supports U.S. COVID-19 response
10:45 Cruise shipping to be suspended in the port of Kiel until end of April
10:08 COSCO SHIPPING Holdings announces 2019 results
09:46 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Mar 31
09:33 Baltic Dry Index is down to 548 points
09:16 Brent Crude futures price is up 2.12% to $26.99, Light Sweet Crude – up 5.67% to $21.25
09:08 Sergey Shishkarev headed the Board of Directors of PJSC TransContainer
08:44 Hapag-Lloyd appoints new executive in Asia
08:44 Aker Solutions secures brownfield services contract in Brunei

2020 March 30

18:30 Ecochlor announces collaboration with Horizon Air Freight to expand shipping services
18:15 Inmarsat takes founding role in first Decarbonising Shipping programme for Asian start-ups
18:05 Start of cruise season in Kiel to be postponed until end of April
17:57 Globaltrans’ profit for 2019 climbed 16% YoY to RUB 22.7 billion
17:03 CMA CGM announces PSS from Romania to the Mediterranean
16:35 OOCL announces Transpacific product update
16:20 About 40 small- and mid-size ships to be built for Russia’s Far East by 2025
16:03 ClassNK releases Guidelines for Non-destructive Inspection by Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing
15:45 Gasum to supply Preem with renewable maritime fuel
15:24 Two ferries operate between seaports of Kaliningrad and Ust-Luga
15:03 NuStar extends Svitzer contract in Point Tupper, Canada, by five years
14:58 5G innovation put to a practical use in the Port of Zeebrugge
14:46 Global Ports terminals add new transit intermodal service from Europe to Asia via Russia
14:28 BPO and BTJ prepared overview of measures introduced in ports and shipping lines within Baltic Sea region
14:02 Port Houston posts cargo volume results for Feb 2020
13:51 Average wholesale prices for М-100 HFO fell to RUB 8,177 in RF spot market
13:20 Wärtsilä signs agreement with Kuribayashi Steamship in Japan for deployment of innovative gate rudder technology
13:10 Maersk’s first intercontinental train from Europe to Asia dispatched from St. Petersburg
13:03 Tianjin Port Development announces 2019 unaudited annual results
12:29 United Shipbuilding Corporation establishes center for prevention of Covid-19 spread
12:02 Ports of Bremen fully functioning
11:37 Abu Dhabi, UAE to host ADIPEC 2020 on November 9-12
11:12 MABUX Digest: Top events on global bunker market. Week 13
11:02 First-stage land usage permit issued to APM Terminals Poti
10:50 KN moves its LNG Terminal from its normal location due to cleaning work
10:28 Port of Riga reports no significant changes in cargo handling
10:21 Panama Canal backs efforts to expedite return home of the passengers and crew on Holland America’s Zaandam
10:04 NCSP Group published its consolidated financial results for 12 months 2019
09:41 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Mar 30
09:26 RF Government limits crossing of state border checkpoints
09:09 Baltic Dry Index is down to 556 points

2020 March 29

16:29 Coast Guard and a salvage towing company rescued three people near Key Largo