The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Omicron offers shipping an unwelcome sense of déjà vu
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Pandemics don’t die, they fade away. At least that’s what governments are currently hoping will happen in 2022, but in the meantime, there is an immediate threat to deal with in shipping and the emergence of Omicron has been accompanied by a familiar set of knee-jerk responses from governments and a marked deterioration in business sentiment. This week’s edition of the podcast analyses the impact of the latest coronavirus variant and asks whether any lessons have been learned to deal with this latest wave.
THE latest Omicron variant of coronavirus has delivered the world a rude reminder that the virus’ path to becoming an endemic disease will not be smooth.
But for shipping there is a real and legitimate fear that unless co-ordinated action is taken by world leaders, we will see a return to the peak of the crew-change crisis in 2020, where more than 400,000 seafarers were affected by unnecessarily harsh travel restrictions.
Vaccinations for crew are running slightly ahead of the global average, but that has not been sufficient to stop draconian border restrictions being re-imposed. New measures are once again appearing daily, with many of the port level rules changing on an hourly basis as governments struggle to co-ordinate policy and practicalities.
Much of this week’s edition of the Lloyd’s List podcast was recorded on International Human Rights Day — a reminder to everyone that seafarers’ rights are still being routinely tossed aside and the workers who have kept global supply chains moving over the pandemic remain too far down the list of priorities.
With that in mind, this week’s edition offers a short status update on seafarers rights, courtesy of the latest report from the non-governmental organisation Human Rights at Sea, but it starts with an expert view on the latest restrictions and the impact that Omicron is already having on the industry.
Joining Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade on this week’s edition of the podcast:
• International Transport Workers’ Federation general secretary, Stephen Cotton
• Human Rights at Sea Chief Executive, David Hammond
• Intermanager president and chief executive of Colombia Shipmanagement, Mark O’Neil
• International Chamber of Shipping secretary-general Guy Platten