• 2020 March 27 09:20

    Synergy Group calls for collective action on shipping’s coronavirus crewing crisis

    The organisation of collective crew changes at key hub ports by ship managers and owners has the potential to solve the seafarer welfare crisis currently threatening global supply chains, believes Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO of leading Singapore-based ship manager Synergy Group, which employs over 12,000 seafarers on more than 300 vessels.
     
    “I believe that collective, carefully managed crew changes at designated ports could help us tackle this crisis,” said Captain Unni.
     
    “Seafarers returning home would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, of course. And those joining ships would need to pass a mandatory medical, including a Covid-19 test.
     
    “Even if Covid-19 infections subside, which we all hope they will do, putting a plan in place now will be good preparation for the future.”
     
    Over 1.6 million seafarers keep the world’s merchant fleet at sea, delivering fuel, medicines, food and equipment to those countries where large portions of the population are currently under curfew as governments try to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
     
    However, as a number of organisations including Human Rights at Sea and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have made clear in recent days, the closure of borders and strict quarantine rules are preventing crew changes from being completed in accordance with employment contracts and international conventions including the Maritime Labour Convention.
     
    The upshot is that thousands of seafarers are now stuck on ships unable to return home. Moreover, for those stranded at sea, conditions are deteriorating rapidly.
     
    “In many ports crew changes are simply prohibited,” said Captain Unni. “Elsewhere, vessels from some origins are now forced to remain at anchorage in quarantine for up to 14 days before they can dock.
     
    “To make matters worse, it is also becoming increasingly difficult for crew to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables such are the restrictions placed on port agents and captains.
     
    “And how are seafarers with medical conditions supposed to get treatments if they can’t leave the vessel?
     
    “This is a safety issue and it’s a mental health issue.
     
    “Seafarers are key workers and they need to be treated with more respect and support. People in any profession should have the right to return home and see their families.”
     
    To facilitate the continuation of world trade without interruption and to protect the human rights and mental well-being of seafarers, Captain Unni is now reaching out to like-minded stakeholders to expedite collective crew changes.
     
    “We have already spoken to a number of leading ship owners and they agree this is a positive way forward,” he said. “We have also identified a number of ports where we think this can be actioned.
     
    “We are now approaching leading shipping organisations and have contacted the IMO about how we can move this forward with the utmost haste.”
     
    In any given month around 100,000 seafarers reach the end of their employment contracts and are repatriated, according to ICS.
     
    “This is a time bomb,” said Captain Unni. “Even under normal circumstance, seafaring is stressful and involves spending long periods of time away from friends and family.
     
    “Right now, in the midst of a pandemic when of course people are anxious, thousands are stuck at sea or stranded around the world waiting to join vessels but unable to do so.
     
    “I have heard the argument that seafarers are safest at sea waiting this out. But nobody knows how long this pandemic will last. Doing nothing is not a plan.
     
    “The inability to enact crew changes is a threat to the mental health of seafarers. They can’t stay at sea indefinitely.
     
    “This also has the potential to disrupt the global supply chains millions are relying on in these terrible times. Seafarers will only put up with this uncertainty and poor treatment for so long, and rightly so.
     
    “We all need to come together and find solutions that help our seafarers and protect world trade.”
     
    About Synergy
     
    The Synergy Group, with over a decade of experience as a leading shipmanager, offers end-to-end maritime solutions and services tailored to the specific requirements of clients. In-depth technical expertise and a diverse product portfolio enable Synergy to generate efficiency and productivity gains to enhance the customer experience for all clients.

    Headquartered in the globally connected city-state of Singapore, Synergy’s hallmark is its through-life approach to asset management and maritime solutions custom-designed to client requirements.

    Now with 13 offices in six key maritime centres and over 270 vessels under management, Synergy supervises a diverse fleet which includes LPG tankers, chemical tankers, oil tankers (VLCC, Suezmax, Aframax, LR2, LR1 and MR), container vessels in the 1,800 TEU-20,000+ TEU range and every size of bulk carrier.

    Synergy’s holistic approach to seafarer wellness and operational excellence was recognised last year when it won the prestigious 2019 Lloyd's List Excellence in Maritime Services & Ship Management Award and the Seatrade Award for Investment in People.




2020 April 8

15:04 THE Alliance announces COVID-19 response measures for May and June 2020
14:36 Vyborg Shipyard holds steel cutting ceremony for trawler of Project KMT02
14:02 The Kings of Spain check the maintenance of the supply chain in the port of Valencia
13:43 Lotos shipyard to build four dredgers for Russia’s inland water ways
13:21 Port Kolomna signs agreement with RF Ministry of Industry and Trade for ship srapping grant
13:02 North Carolina Ports completes Turning Basin Expansion Project at the Port of Wilmington
12:42 Shipping credit outlook revised to negative: cash crunch worsens as Covid-19 disrupts trade
12:05 Inland terminals at the Port of Hamburg hit by the corona crises differently
11:30 IAPH Tokyo secretariat transited to remote work from home
11:05 SAFEEN acquires its largest service vessel to date
11:02 BC Ferries adjusted service levels due to Covid-19 pandemic
10:39 ABB increases remote support for ships to help customers during the COVID-19 outbreak
10:38 Port of Gdansk actively supports fight against coronavirus
10:16 Tallink Grupp’s vessels Megastar, Galaxy and Baltic Princess suspend passenger transport to Finland
09:53 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Apr 08
09:40 Bunker prices start going up at the port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia
09:19 Baltic Dry Index is down to 596 points
08:47 Golden Ocean announces appointment of Ulrik Uhrenfeldt Andersen as CEO

2020 April 7

18:38 RF Government makes big decision to quit transshipment of NOVATEK’s LNG in Norway
17:27 BashVolgotanker opens navigation with first tanker leaving Samara for Kavkaz
17:03 IADC moves its seminar and course to 2nd half of 2020
16:49 RF Navy’s oceanographic research vessel "Admiral Vladimirsky" arrived in the Durville Sea
16:05 ECSA and ETF launch joint project WESS
15:51 Bunker prices are flat at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
15:43 Port of Rotterdam adds Boxinsider to Portbase
15:28 Dredging works at LNG terminal in Klaipeda Seaport completed ahead of schedule
15:04 VTT to assess bio- and waste-based oils suitable for power plants and ships
14:43 Nordic Investment Bank is sponsoring expansion of Klaipeda Seaport
14:20 AET and TOTAL agree time charter for two LNG dual-fuel VLCCs
13:52 Rosmorport changed tariffs on crew boats services rendered in seaports of Eysk and Temryuk
13:29 Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard introduced short-time operation till 30 April 2020
12:54 Rosmorport announces tender to reconstruct coastal facilities of Vanino-Kholmsk ferry service
12:26 Rosmorport announces tender to build and reconstruct port infrastructure in Nikolskoye settlement
11:47 Hydrographic vessel of RF Navy’s Pacific Fleet continues its long-distance cruise to Antarctica
11:09 Hurtigruten temporarily suspends operations
10:25 Brent Crude futures price is up 3% to $34.04, Light Sweet Crude – up 3.53% to $27
10:08 Stena Line to furlough 600 employees and make 150 redundant in UK and the Republic of Ireland due to COVID-19
09:53 Extraordinary security measures undertaken by PORT FLEET operating in Big Port St. Petersburg
09:34 Nuclear-powered container carrier Sevmorput unloaded cargo for Arctic LNG 2 project
09:16 Baltic Dry Index is down to 604 points
09:02 Austria's overseas traffic via Hamburg remains stable
08:46 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Apr 07
08:19 LR chosen for LNG Canada export terminal project in Kitimat

2020 April 6

18:37 Okeanis Eco Tankers announces three year VLCC time charter
18:06 Bureau Veritas helps to manage risk thanks to digitalized inspection services
17:45 Turnover of DeloPorts terminals in January-March of 2020 reached 2.6 mln tonnes, up 44% YoY
17:39 The production of Tallink’s new car and passenger ferry MyStar has started at Rauma shipyard
17:12 Maersk Container Industry signs first Star Cool milestone contract with Evergreen
17:06 Lloyd’s Register completes six-day, three-person audit for marine and offshore component and equipment business Whittaker Engineering
16:30 8,800 cbm of material dredged in Korsakov seaport
16:08 MABUX Digest: Top events on global bunker market: Week 14
16:06 CMA CGM cancels PSS for cargo from East Africa to Asia
15:59 The Korean Register releases the latest updated version of KR-CON
14:50 DNV GL’s new MMC unlocks unprecedented machinery efficiencies and insights
13:57 Technical fleet of Moscow Canal to begin navigation season on April 24
13:33 Construction of Tallink Grupp’s newest eco-friendly LNG-powered shuttle ferry to begin at RMC shipyard in Rauma
12:46 World Ports Covid19 Information Portal established
12:22 IMO issues guidance for delays in newbuild vessel deliveries due to COVID-19
12:00 Nanjing Jinling Shipyard launches the second of G5GG ro-ro vessels for Grimaldi Group
11:18 Average wholesale prices for М-100 HFO fell to RUB 6,299 in RF spot market