The Lloyd's List Podcast: Crewing crisis reaches boiling point
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Governments have this week pledged to speed up efforts to get hundreds of thousands of stranded merchant sailors home, but this comes after months of similar rhetoric and limited action. So can we expect things to change? International Maritime Organization secretary-general Kitack Lim — our guest on this week’s podcast — says yes. We are, he argues, in a wartime situation with the pandemic. Government responses have required time to heat up, but they are have now reached boiling point and the recent pledges are more than just promises
“IT is time to act for seafarers. Safe ship operations and crew wellbeing should not be compromised. The humanitarian crisis seafarers face has implications for all of us, for the world economy and for the safety of life at sea and the environment.”
Not our words — this was part of the opening address from International Maritime Organization secretary-general Kitack Lim, our guest on this week’s podcast, at this week’s crew change summit where we saw a dozen countries pledge to speed up efforts to get hundreds of thousands of stranded crew home.
Accurate numbers are hard to come by — a telling indictment of attention being paid to seafarers right now — but we know that some 200,000 seafarers are affected. The most optimistic assessments suggest less than 30% of crew rotations are taking place on a monthly basis.
Many have been at sea for longer than the 11-month limit laid out in a maritime labour convention. Mental health issues are rife, and suicides at sea are becoming an alarming outcome of this hidden humanitarian crisis.
In this week’s podcast editor Richard Meade and markets editor Michelle Wiese Bockmann dissect this week’s crewing events and reflect on what’s been going on behind the scenes of the public statements. Richard then talks to the IMO secretary-general about the diplomatic efforts being made to help crew, why the coronavirus has created wartime conditions for shipping and why he feels that the national efforts may have taken time to heat up, but they are now at boiling point.
Lloyd’s List wants to give a voice and a face to the humanitarian crisis at sea. We are asking seafarers, shipmanagers, crewing agencies, shipping charities to help us tell your stories and use your phones to record a 30-second vignette of your own experience. We will then embed these in our crew coverage to make sure that the decision-makers who read our stories and frame the debate see the faces and experiences behind their actions.
We are also bringing down the paywall on all our crew coverage to make sure that your voices are heard by the widest possible audience. You can access our coverage via our Crew Crisis topic page by clicking on the image below.
Videos can be sent to us via Twitter @lloydslisted, @lloydslist (our DMs are open) or directly to our editor who is available via Richard.email@example.com