One of the largest ship registries in the world, The Liberian Registry, is adding its weight behind the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, joining over 300 owners, operators, and maritime organisations
“It is an honour for us to sign, and we pledge to continue our efforts in facilitating crew changes aboard our 4,600 vessels around the globe,” said Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) chief operating officer Alfonso Castillero.
Launched at Davos 2021, the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change is a call to action to end the unprecedented crew change crisis caused by Covid-19. Many have called seafarers the “world’s unsung heroes” for keeping vital supplies of food, medicine, clothing, equipment and energy flowing, while embroiled in their own humanitarian crisis.
“Covid-19 has created unprecedented challenges, and we have been fighting for the facilitation of crew changes since the early days of the pandemic, working closely with industry bodies such as ICS and ITF, port and coastal states, and with the owners and operators of Liberia-flagged vessels,” said Mr Castillero.
The crisis stranded hundreds of thousands of seafarers either on ships or ashore at home and unable to earn a living. Estimates are that about 800,000 seafarers have been impacted by the Covid-19 crew change crisis.
This humanitarian issue is far from resolved, despite the efforts of international organisations, governments, industry associations, labour unions, NGOs and shipping companies. Among those actions was the adoption in December by the UN General Assembly of a resolution on international co-operation to address challenges faced by seafarers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to support global supply chains.
The Liberian Registry said it signed on to the Neptune Declaration to continue the fight to recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines; to establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practices; increase collaboration between industry stakeholders to facilitate crew changes; and to ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs.
Added Mr Castillero, “I want to thank the Global Maritime Forum, and the partner organisations in signing this important declaration. It takes courage to take this stand and fight for not only what is right for our seafarers, but for the maritime industry and world trade. There is so much more work to be done to solve this crisis, and we will continue to work day and night in support of this along with the other partner signatories of this very important declaration.”
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