Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
In order to enable crew changes, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has listed seafarers among the class of essential workers under its Disaster Risk Management Act and has put in place measures to speed up the transit of registered seafarers through its borders.
Wait by 6000,000
Around the world an estimated 600,000 seafarers are waiting for crew changes – 300,000 on vessels and 300,000 waiting to embark – according to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). Many of those on board have been working for up to four months past their contracted dates while those waiting to embark are typically not receiving wages, leaving them facing financial ruin.
GOJ is encouraging ship owners to make the necessary arrangements as soon as possible to safely repatriate seafarers whose Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA) has expired and has implemented measures to support the repatriation of seafarers and crew changes via Jamaica.
However, in special circumstances, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), which oversees all matters maritime for the GOJ, will consider extending SEAs to facilitate trade continuity, where the circumstances warrant and there is mutual agreement between the owner and the seafarer.
Meanwhile the MAJ has resumed normal procedures for the issue and renewal of seafarers’ documentation.
In a statement of 7 August Rear-Admiral (Ret’d) Peter Brady, MAJ Director General, said: ‘The Maritime Authority of Jamaica is cognizant of the crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and its debilitating impact on the global community. There has been some improvement as some ports across the world have re-opened, and seafarers are being repatriated in some instances.
‘Notwithstanding, numerous seafarers are still facing difficulty at sea and it is recognized that only a global response will alleviate the hardships seafarers face during this pandemic.’
Outlining the measures Jamaica is taking, he continued: ‘In response to the recommendations of the IMO and other global industry stakeholders, the Government of Jamaica has instituted measures to alleviate the current crisis. It is to be noted that the borders of Jamaica have re-opened to facilitate controlled re-entry and transit of persons.’
As a consequence the GOJ is taking steps to ensure that the economy returns to normal operations as far as possible. The MAJ continues to provide the full suite of registration, technical and seafarer certification services to clients from its offices in the usual manner, as well as via purpose-built electronic platforms.
For further information
Seafarers wishing to transit Jamaica to join a ship or to return home are required to complete the following two-step process:
IALA is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and, scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.
IALA encourages its members to work together in a common effort to harmonise Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost-effective while protecting the environment.
Taking into account the needs of mariners, developments in technology and the requirements and constraints of aids to navigation authorities, a number of technical committees have been established bringing together experts from around the world.
Following a strong start to CLdN’s* weekly Con-Ro service from Cork to Zeebrugge, the shipping line announced a second call to accommodate demand. This second direct service from Cork to the EU commenced on 7 January offering more flexibility to Irish customers, ensuring supply chains are maintained.
Considering Brexit and combined with the modal shift from accompanied to unaccompanied shipping, having a second direct link between Cork and Zeebrugge will bypass the UK Landbridge. For importers and exporters this means avoiding unnecessary border checks thus ensuring cargo flows more effectively and in a cost-efficient manner from Ireland direct to the continent.
According to CLdN, over the last months, there has been steady growth in customer demand for reliable, low cost and Brexit-proof unaccompanied freight products. Shipping unaccompanied trailers, (tank) containers, finished vehicles or project cargo between its own ferry terminals provides a one stop shop for customers to get goods shipped across the North Sea without running the risk of disruption.