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Crew-change crisis highlights fundamental industry problems

The coronavirus outbreak has made painfully obvious the reality that the shipping industry does not get the attention it deserves. As a result seafarers are underappreciated and has caused them to be in the current situation.

Getting crew off vessels as scheduled is possible and must be done because this is the deal they signed up for, says Anglo-Eastern chief executive officer Bjorn Hojgaard. The pandemic has also shown up the attitudes of governments quite blatantly, he adds

THE coronavirus outbreak has highlighted some home truths about the shipping industry, according to a panel at the 2nd Capital Link Hong Kong Maritime Forum.
Plunging directly into the crew-change crisis that has haunted the industry for over six months now, International Transport Workers’ Federation general secretary Stephen Cotton unequivocally said: “The reality is our industry doesn’t get the attention it deserves, that is why seafarers are underappreciated.”

Anglo-Eastern Ship Management chief executive officer and Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association chairman Bjorn Hojgaard said the health crisis had made it very clear that when it comes to the crunch, many governments are not very willing to co-operate and basically just do not want to have to deal with the issue in their jurisdictions.

“A lack of a coordinated approach between governments who don’t value shipping enough” is largely behind the situation that has been described by the industry as a humanitarian crisis, he said.

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