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COVID-19 - « RELEVES DES ÉQUIPAGES » CONFÉRENCE DES INDUSTRIELS DU SECTEUR MARITIME – 15 AVRIL 2020

IFSMA - Fédération Internationale des associations de capitaines de navires

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20/04/2020

Danielle Quaini vient de nous transmettre le compte-rendu d'une conférence qui s'est tenue le 15 avril entre différents industriels internationaux du secteur maritime et à laquelle participait l'IFSMA, la Fédération Internationale des Associations de Capitaines de Navires. Le sujet des relèves d'équipage a en particulier été évoqué.


Retrouvez le compte-rendu ci-dessous:


Dear all  Please find attached the latest minutes of the High Level Maritime IGO/NGO Group meeting.  You will also see the INTERTANKO COPHID - 19 Management Plan which it sent out to all of its members and might be of interest to our Members and shipmasters.  You will see from the minutes that ICS and ITF have been working with IATA and the Aviation Industry to start work on the issue of Crew changes which will need to start happening in the not too distant future.  There was much discussion on this and how we can get a common approach out of Nations with regard to the importance of getting a seamen home and indeed back onboard ships again.  This is very relevant and difficult with the current ban on passenger flights and the need for 14 days of quarantine coming home and going onboard.  IATA will liaise with the Aviation Industry with a view to seaman using the empty seats of theincreasing number of passenger aircraft being used for freight flights only around the world. The second issue which came over from a number of members was the poor hygiene of people coming on board ships and in particular there were some disturbing reports from around the world, USA being singled out, about the aggressive and uncooperative approach of pilots coming into the onboard clean environment of a ship entering/leaving harbour. I will keep you informed as these meetings progress, but I would be grateful for any feedback and/or real examples of issues, good practice and suggestions that you might have for the next meeting on Wednesday. As everJim
Best regards, Jim Scorer
IFSMA Secretary General


COVID-19 – INDUSTRY GROUP CONFERENCE CALL

WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL 2020 AT 12:00 NOON UK TIME


ATTENDANCE


ASA                           

Michael Phoon

BIMCO

Angus Frew

CLIA       

Donnie Brown

ECSA

Martin Dorsman

FONASBA

Jonathan Williams

IACS

Robert Ashdown

IAPH

Patrick Verhoeven

IFSMA

Jim Scorer

ICS

Guy Platten (Chair)

IG P&I

Nick Shaw

IMCA

Margaret Fitzgerald

IMEC

Francesco Gargiulo

INTERCARGO

Kostas Gkonis

INTERFERRY

Johan Roos

INTERMANAGER

Kuba Szymanski

INTERTANKO

Katherina Stanzel

IPTA

Janet Strode

ISOA

Tony Mason

WSC

John Butler









SUMMARY OF MEETING


Guy Platten opened the meeting by welcoming and thanking all those joining the call. The meeting was then updated on the work of ICS with respect to crew changes. ICS was developing a framework of protocols for crew changes to demonstrate to member States and port authorities that the industry had robust protocols to protect both seafarers and communities around ports from cross infection during crew changes. The document would address the needs of shipowners, ports, airports and other relevant stakeholders and was to be drafted in the style of an IMO document. It was intended to submit the framework of protocols to IMO and ICAO, where it was hoped it would give authorities greater confidence to relax restrictions on crew changes once it was practical to start arranging crew changes. Other associations were invited to support these efforts and to work with ICS. There appeared to be widespread agreement from the other associations. It was hoped to share the draft framework of protocols with the other associations very soon.


With respect to the crew change hub concept, BIMCO had further reviewed their contract clauses. Their contracts included an infectious and contagious diseases clause, but this did not address crew changes. In the case of voyage deviations to reach a crew change hub then such voyages would be outside of the contract and as such there was a risk that they would not be insured as such deviations would have to be agreed by the charterers with the costs being a matter for discussion between shipowners and charterers. It was hoped that there would be a pragmatic approach from charterers and some had indicated that they were willing to co-operate. BIMCO were not currently working on a specific new clause to address crew change deviations during the pandemic but agreed to discuss internally. The IG P&I were supportive of the concept in principle but stated that the costs of voyage deviations would have to be negotiated by shipowners and charterers. The IG P&I would review the insurance aspects of deviations and supported continued efforts to develop the proposal and to apply pressure at IMO and on national governments.


The work on crew changes was working on several levels, reflecting the complexity and challenging nature of the matter. Work continued to work at a high level to maintain pressure on governments and the G20 member States, as well as at the more detailed operational level of developing the framework of protocols document. ICS had enjoyed a positive and constructive call with the Director General/CEO of IATA (Alexandre de Juniac) and their Senior Vice President Airport, Passengers, Cargo and Security (Nick Careen) on the matter of crew changes. IATA saw opportunities for the airline sector to support shipping by providing flights. Some passenger aircraft were now operating cargo flights with no passengers on-board because of passenger restrictions. It was also made clear that airlines are commercial companies and that although there was potential to reduce costs in the circumstances, there would nevertheless still be costs for the shipping industry in arranging for ships crews to be carried by the airlines. IATA had requested information on the number of seafarers involved and the airports which would need to be served, ICS had shared some initial numbers but those other associations joining the call were requested to share data on the number of seafarers their member companies needed to move and between which airports. ICS offered to collate and share with IATA. ICS and IATA had also agreed a joint statement to maintain pressure on governments (see links below). IATA had expressed an interest in the framework of protocols document which was under development and would be invited to comment, with a joint ICS – IATA letter to IMO and ICAO being considered. The outreach to IATA was supported by all.


The meeting was reminded that the European Commission had issued a welcome communication on the matter of crew changes on April 8 which had addressed the protection and repatriation of seafarers. ECSA was maintaining pressure in Europe by asking for the matter to be discussed by the European Council and was lobbying member States and the European Parliament to promote a harmonized approach in Europe. As an observation it was stated that crews on-board were being well looked after and continued to be paid, and that the bigger welfare concern was for seafarers unable to join ships and who were waiting to resume work.


IACS updated the meeting with respect to the open letter to industry which they planned to issue. Since the last meeting work to draft this letter had continued however although it was 95% complete the final sections required further work. It was hoped to issue the letter in week commencing April 20. In response to a question from CLIA on the matter of the European Ship Recycling Regulation and the necessary inventory of hazardous materials which was required to be completed by 1 January 2021 IACS confirmed that this would be addressed in the open letter. On the matter of ship certification IPTA drew the meetings attention to the recent initiative of the USCG to agree to ballast water management extensions, recognizing the difficulties being faced by industry in installing and commissioning ballast water management systems within the applicable deadlines for ships. A question was asked about whether IMO might agree to a similar extension, however ICS considered that there was no legal mechanism for IMO to suspend implementation, partly because there were no IMO meetings to consider the matter during the suspension of IMO meetings and also because of the process to amend the Convention even if IMO was still meeting. Following discussions with several Member States it appeared that where shipowners were unable to install and commission a BWMS within the applicable deadline then this could be addressed under the provision for contingency measures and to allow use of ballast water exchange. Feedback from shipowners indicated that to date both Flag Administrations and Port State Control authorities were applying a flexible and pragmatic approach to certification matters.


Several other concerns and updates were shared by associations, including inter alia:


  • CLIA offered to contribute the experience of their members on the matter of arranging charter flights, this was an area where CLIA members had extensive experience as a result of their need to transport large numbers of passengers and seafarers. CLIA member experience indicated that even in cases where shipowners were willing to meet the costs of arranging charter flights there were still significant challenges. CLIA also advised the meeting of a No Sail Order applicable to cruise ships in US waters, this would exclude all cruise ships from US waters unless a plan was submitted to US authorities within seven days. Whilst some elements of the required plans were reasonable others such as requirements concerning hospital and medical treatment cover might not be practicable, even for cruise ships which were provided with health centres and medical staff. The cruise sector had faced particular challenges with respect to repatriating crews, with many being denied permission to leave ships even where those ships had implemented strict protocols and were free of COVID-19, the issues affected 10,000’s of persons working on-board cruise ships;


  • IMEC were reaching out to their membership and their equivalents in Japan and Korea to solicit information on the number of seafarers requiring flights to support the work with IATA.


  • Interferry reported that ferry operators were concerned that the lockdown period would extend into the Northern summer period, many ferries were loss making for significant periods of the year and relied on the summer period to be economically viable. The sector was already facing liquidity difficulties, passenger numbers had fallen by 90-95% and freight by 60-70%.


  • Intertanko had published an outbreak management plan which complemented ICS guidance, which is attached at Annex A.


  • Intercargo, whilst supportive of the hub port concept in general, suggested further work with local interested parties to analyse cost/benefit of the proposal to help inform who should meet costs and suggested more outreach to the mainstream media would be useful. ICS confirmed that they were indeed reaching out to the mainstream media and for example it was expected that BBC would include a story on seafarers this week, the mainstream media was now responding to outreach.


  • Intermanager updated the meeting on a trial of the hub concept and crew change protocols at the port of Ras Laffan. Ras Laffan in Qatar had been identified as a pilot port for the crew change concept since it was a principal port for gas carriers and Qatar airways was still flying. Unfortunately experience over the previous weekend had not been positive. The process was relative smooth for off-signers leaving the ship but much less so for the joining seafarers. A particular challenge was the period of 14 days quarantine for joiners, did this need to be completed in a hotel or could it be completed on-board? The viability of the draft protocols and the hub concept might be determined by local policies on quarantine periods for seafarers. Intermanager had enjoyed a positive dialogue with ITF and expressed appreciation for this cooperation although there was an outstanding concern with respect to seafarers required to be quarantined for 14 days after arrival at their home countries and whether this was to be counted at paid time. IMEC clarified that under their CBAs this period was not required to be paid by the employer, something which had led to some seafarers being reluctant to leave ships. Intermanager also expressed concern at a recent Change.org campaign advocating a zero contact policy, whilst the aims of the policy were understood it could lead to undesirable negative consequences;


  • IAPH were to publish the second of their barometers on the health of the port sector tomorrow and continued to update their COVID-19 portal as well as developing guidance for ports.


  • IMCA and ISOA were liaising with their colleagues representing offshore workers, such as IADC, as both sectors faced similar challenges in crew changes and since they operated in the same locations there was potential to co-operate; and


  • Several associations expressed concern at pilots and shore staff (including government officials such as immigration officers) not wearing PPE or paying attention to basic COVID-19 risk management procedures which was causing concern to crews. ECSA were raising the matter with the European authorities and it was considered to be deeply concerning that the efforts of crews to prevent infection might be undermined by shore workers and government officials not taking procedures seriously.


There being no further matters to be discussed the meeting was closed after agreeing to hold a further call at the same time on Wednesday 22 April 2020.


Weblinks:


Joint ICS – IATA statement: http://www.ics-shipping.org/news/press-releases/2020/04/15/iata-and-ics-governments-must-facilitate-ship-crew-changes


The next call will take place at 12:00 UK Time, Wednesday 22nd April 2020.








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