Intercargo calls out charterers preventing crew changes
The dry bulk owners’ association issued a strongly worded statement condemning ‘the non-compassionate practices of some charterers of dry bulk carriers’. It noted the ‘appalling practice’ has been reported primarily in the dry bulk sector
Charterers are not only ignoring relevant provisions and charterparty clauses that could provide for crew changes to take place, but Intercargo says it has also seen reports that bulk carriers changing crews in certain countries in Southeast Asia are being treated as ‘toxic’ by charterers for the 14 days following. This is preventing much needed crew changes from taking place during the period of the charter, despite the shipowner agreeing to accept the associated costs, the association said
FOLLOWING on from revelations by industry bodies that charterers are using ‘no crew change’ clauses in charterparties, dry bulk owners’ group Intercargo has come out to condemn these practices.
The organisation said in a press release that it has learned that of a number of instances where charterers in the dry bulk sector have been preventing much-needed crew changes from taking place during the period of the charter, despite the shipowner agreeing to accept the associated costs.
“Intercargo strongly condemns the non-compassionate practices of some charterers of dry bulk carriers, in their rejection of crew change outright during the charter period,” the association said in a strongly worded statement.
“This flies in the face of industry-wide efforts to offer seafarers the essential rest that they have been so long without during the coronavirus pandemic, and which is essential to the safe operation of the shipping sector.”
Intercargo cited instances where charterers have been seen to simply ignore relevant provisions and charterparty clauses that could be employed and even reports that bulk carriers changing crews in certain countries in Southeast Asia are being treated as ‘toxic’ by charterers for the 14 days following crew change.
There have been recent reports of several vessels arriving at Australian ports with coronavirus-infected crew after having carried out crew changes in the Philippines.
“Ironically, this appalling practice has been reported primarily in the dry bulk sector, where the prevention of seafarer fatigue is of special concern. Bulk carriers on tramp trading routes call at many more ports than other shipping sectors, piling added strain on an already fatigued workforce with no hope of crew change,” Intercargo pointed out.
“It is very disappointing that dry cargo charterers do not understand or wish to take responsibility for the concept of the common venture, which exists under a time-charter,” it said.
“Intercargo wishes to state unequivocally that this issue goes further than the charterer’s corporate social responsibility or environmental, social and governance responsibilities, and displays a clear lack of appreciation of one of the greatest humanitarian crises to affect the maritime sector,” the association concluded.