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The Lloyd's List Podcast: Steel yourself for a long war

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The shipping industry’s 12-step plan to facilitate crew change was released this week and is expected to expedite a more effective government response to the crew change crisis that has seen thousands of seafarers stuck at sea for months. But it also highlights that the industry is bracing for a longer period of disruption than many had been hoping for. It’s a wartime situation, says Columbia Shipmanagement president Mark O’Neil, who joins the podcast this week, along with International Chamber of Shipping secretary-general Guy Platten. The whole industry needs to accept that there are no quick fixes and we should all be steeling ourselves for an extended campaign, argues Mr O’Neil.

LATEST estimates suggest that 150,000 seafarers need to be changed over in two weeks, but tens of thousands are still stuck on their ships due to travel restrictions.

Those seafarers that do get off have difficulty returning to their homes and we know that  thousands of crew members are in effect stranded all over the world right now.

This is not a new story and regular listeners to the podcast will be well aware of the unified industry efforts and plans to facilitate crew changes, but the reality is that this is turning out to be a slower process than many had hoped for.

Getting crew rotated is still down the priority list for governments, even as the coronavirus numbers start to ease.

Which is why the publication of the cross-industry 12-step plan this week is so important.

At first glance this simply repeats the by now familiar calls on governments to facilitate ship crew change during the pandemic, but if you haven’t already taken a closer look – do. Because this is a serious document developed with unprecedented cross-industry support and marks a more formalised approach to start working with governments on quickly establishing a set of national and international protocols.

It’s also telling of the time frame now being worked to.

Lloyd’s List editor Richard Meade is joined on the podcast this week by International Chamber of Shipping secretary-general Guy Platten, who makes clear that this is not going to end in a few months, arguing that the industry needs to quickly adapt to the new normal.

It’s a wartime situation, says Columbia Shipmanagement president Mark O’Neil, who also joins the podcast this week.

While embracing the positives to come out of this, he has been frank from the start with his crew that there are no quick fixes here and that they, and the rest of us, should steel ourselves for a long journey with no natural end point.

You can keep up to date with all our latest stories on the subject via our special coronavirus page here.

Enjoy the podcast and don’t forget, you can now subscribe to the Lloyd’s List Podcast via iTunes and Spotify, as well as most other podcast providers. And make sure you are registered for a free account on Lloydslist.com so you can receive our Daily Briefing e-mail.

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