Covid-19, It is urgent to resolve the problem of crew changes

The joint note of Assarmatori, Confitarma and Federagenti. President Messina: “Doing nothing would amount to underestimating the strategic importance of maritime transport”.

Press reports reveal that 13 countries have adopted international measures to allow crew changes, recognizing seafarers as key workers because sea transport is strategic for the global logistics chain, energy supply and basic necessities.

For this reason, during the pandemic, maritime workers have never stopped, but to date, due to restrictions on the free movement of people imposed almost everywhere in the world by individual countries, it is still impossible to make the necessary changes. In Italy, on the problem of crews still stranded on ships due to the COVID-19 emergency, the shipowning industry together with the Trade Unions has repeatedly called attention, asking the Government and the competent ministries to convene a discussion table to share the problems and find solutions but, so far, no positive sign has been recorded in this regard.

This situation is becoming absolutely unsustainable, because for many months now thousands of Italian seafarers have been waiting to be able to return to Italy and are at the end of their psycho-physical strength, while those who should replace them on board cannot embark and therefore work.

“For months – says Mario Mattioli, President of Confitarma – we have been asking for rapid and decisive humanitarian action by the Government to guarantee our seafarers safe transit corridors, to get them on board to work and to get them back home once the normal embarkation period is ended”.

“It is urgent and a priority – says Stefano Messina, President of Assarmatori – to intervene for the protection of human life at sea and for the safety of navigation and our ships. To do nothing would be a further underestimation of the strategic importance of maritime transport and the work of those who guarantee it”.

“Shipowners and seafarers have done and are doing their duty – says Gian Enzo Duci, President of Federagenti – we are now waiting for a concrete signal”.
If the seafarers currently on board ships are not replaced as soon as possible, many of them may no longer be able to sail in the future.