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.
Port State control (PSC) regimes have expressed their willingness to be part of the solution to the urgent issue of crew changes and repatriation of seafarers. This is a key outcome of the second virtual meeting of all PSC regimes (17 June), organised by IMO in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to address issues surrounding surveys and certificates renewals during the pandemic. This was reported in a media briefing from IMO on 18 June.
Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies. However, the crisis has led to difficult working conditions for seafarers, including uncertainties and difficulties about port access, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation.
Herentals-based (Antwerp Province) logistics real estate developer and investor Heylen Warehouses has commenced construction on its largest project in Belgium to date: Ghent Logistic Campus. This will see the company off to a flying start when the coronavirus measures are relaxed, it was reported on 12 June.
The Secretary-General is concerned about the growing humanitarian and safety crisis facing seafarers around the world. As a result of COVID-related travel restrictions, hundreds of thousands of the world’s two million seafarers have been stranded at sea for months. Unable to get off ships, the maximum sea time stipulated in international conventions is being ignored, with some seafarers marooned at sea for 15 months.
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It was reported from Durban on 8 June that Hapag-Lloyd’s container ship Montpellier, deployed on the Middle East India Africa Express (MIAX) service, will have to remain under quarantine after another seafarer on board tested positive for the coronavirus.
The ship is currently at the Durban outer anchorage.
Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught describes the impact made by COVID-19 on the safety and charity operations of Trinity House and the work being done to move forward
Working to keep seafarers safe and supported
‘Following the recent revision to the Government’s lockdown restrictions, we at Trinity House are looking closely at how we can manage a safe return to full operational capacity as both a General Lighthouse Authority and a major maritime charity.
‘First and foremost—given that our statutory work as a General Lighthouse Authority and the objectives of the Trinity House Maritime Charity are all being delivered to a high standard—we are confident that we can take the time to get this right and do it properly.
‘Our people’s safety—both at sea and on shore—is our priority; we will continue to focus on delivering our various responsibilities and make our return to offices and depots when it is safe and appropriate, with all safety measures fully in place. As an organisation we have adapted quickly and deftly to remote working, making extensive use of technology to enhance collaboration and communication across shore teams and vessel crews.
At the start of June it was reported that the Hapag-Lloyd container ship Montpellier (IMO 9314973) had completed her 14-day period of quarantine and would be allowed to enter port at Durban. This was after several members of the crew were tested positive with the coronavirus. Before the ship entered port another crew member was tested positive, meaning a second 14-day period of quarantine for the ship and her cargo, which could not be discharged in Durban nor new cargo loaded.
The vessel is deployed on Hapag-Lloyd’s MIAX service between the Middle East, India, South Africa and West Africa.
It was second time lucky after the extra period of quarantine expired last week, (week ending 20 June) and with a clean bill of health the ship was able to enter port, at the time 28 days over her schedule. She entered port last week to have the ship fully cleaned and disinfected prior to cargo operations commencing on 18 June and to have all the Durban-bound and Cape Town-bound containers offloaded.