Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Late Friday (11 September) the IMO issued a Joint Statement with other UN entities to urge action on the crew change crisis
In the agreed document all Governments were called upon to immediately recognize seafarers as keyworkers, and to address the humanitarian crisis faced by the shipping sector.
The Statement was issued above the signatures of several UN agencies including IMO, ILO, UNCTAD, FAO and ICAO to urge all UN Member States to take action to urgently resolve the crew change crisis to avert a humanitarian disaster that will also affect the safety of shipping, the protection of the marine environment, the continuation of efficient trade and the recovery of the world economy.
The Joint Statement can be download here:
The maritime shipping sector faces a humanitarian crisis
The maritime shipping sector moves more than 80% of global trade and is a crucial component of the global economy. As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic this sector, and in particular the seafarers who drive it, are facing severe challenges in making the necessary crew changes of seafarers. This is due, among other reasons, to restrictions on travel, embarkation and disembarkation in ports; quarantine measures; reductions in available flights; and limits on the issuing of visas and passports.
It is because of the sacrifices of seafarers, who have continued working after their contracts have expired, that ports have remained open for trade, so allowing cargo operations to be carried out in a timely manner and goods to continue to circulate smoothly. The world owes a great debt to seafarers for maintaining supply chains throughout the pandemic.
Actions taken by many governments that limit or prevent ship operators from conducting crew changes is the single most pressing maritime operational challenge to the safe and efficient movement of global trade. This has created a humanitarian crisis, with approximately 300,000 seafarers trapped working aboard ships who cannot be repatriated, and an equal number of unemployed seafarers ashore because they are unable to board ships. Those on board have had their contracts extended, sometimes beyond 17 months, and are facing fatigue and physical and mental health issues, leading to fears of self-harm and suicide. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have received thousands of urgent calls for help from seafarers and their families.
Governments around the world have been asked to bring the contents of this joint statement to the attention of the competent authorities and all others concerned.
On 18 September ESPO announced that the projects of Algeciras Port Authority, Port of Amsterdam, Port Authority of Lisbon and Puertos del Estado have been shortlisted for the 12th European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Award on Social Integration of Ports.
The jury selected these four applications from a total of seven submissions. The theme of this year’s competition is Enhancing the port-city relationship by encouraging innovators and local start-ups to be part of the port ecosystem.
The ESPO Award 2020 will go to the port managing body that has developed a successful strategy to attract innovation and local start-ups to the port and thus matches supply and demand for innovative solutions for the port and its stakeholders. The winning port will demonstrate to what extent this strategy has led not only to stimulating innovation in the port, but also making the port ecosystem an attractive place for innovative ideas and local young start-up talents.
Pat Cox, Chairman of the ESPO Award Jury commented: ‘In a year of unparalleled challenges facing the transport industry because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our ports have proved again their critical and indispensable role in vital supply chain logistics.
Africa Ports & Ships (www.africaports.co.za) reported on 18 September that Cameroon’s Port Authority of Douala (PAD) has taken delivery of its new 2700 cu metre capacity Easydredge from Dutch builder, Royal IHC.
The Easydredge 2700 joins a Beaver 50 dredge supplied earlier and will be joined by a larger Easydredge 3000 Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) also from Royal IHC.
A new dredging department was created officially in August this year to manage and operate the fleet of dredging equipment under the control of PAD for the port of Douala-Bonabéri.
The port authority says it spent an average of XAF17.16 billion (US$30.8 million) on dredging costs every year.
By having its own dredging department and dredging equipment PAD estimates it will have an annual expenditure of XAF6.7 billion ($12 million) over the next five years.