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Seafarers disembark after months trapped on vessel

Some of Maersk Ensenada’s crew had been on the ship for 13 months, and all had not been ashore in five months

Some three-quarters of crew changes on the world’s international fleet of 50,000-plus ships have not gone ahead since the global coronavirus pandemic restricted travel and grounded airlines in March

THE crew of Maersk Ensenada have signed off at Felixstowe after months on board after being caught up in lockdowns introduced as part of the coronavirus response.

The Indian nationals, all employed by shipmanager Synergy Marine Group, spoke out about their time at sea to Lloyd’s List in a series of videos recorded earlier this week, while in their last port of Le Havre.

They called for government policy makers worldwide to grant them “key worker” status to allow them to return home.

Some of the crew had been on the ship for 13 months, and all had not been ashore in five months as restrictive quarantine and immigration procedures left them unable to disembark.

Some three-quarters of crew changes on the world’s international fleet of 50,000-plus ships have not gone ahead since the global coronavirus pandemic restricted travel and grounded airlines in March, leaving an estimated 300,000 seafarers stranded at sea.

A further 300,000 are unemployed in their home country and awaiting to replace them, affecting nearly 40% of the world’s 1.5m seafarers.

The UK, which has recognised seafarers as key workers, is emerging as one of the easier hubs to facilitate crew changes.

The US is also leading with crew transfers, based on records kept by shipmanager V.Ships and shared with Lloyd’s List.

Synergy Maritime said it had also used Egypt, and the Suez Canal as another place to transfer crew, with Panama, Denmark and India all announcing seafarer-friendlier procedures during the past week.

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