• 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 October 19

18:11 CMA CGM to launch the East Med - Black Sea Express
18:01 Taganrog coastal station of NAVTEX service obtains certificate of conformity
17:48 BPA to host 5G workshop
17:27 FESCO to supply India's research stations in Antarctica for the third year in a row
17:06 Valenciaport registers the record with 477,194 containers handled in September 2020
16:46 4th “LNG Fleet, LNG Bunkering and Alternatives” conference to be held online on 28 October 2020
16:05 Milaha obtains “ISO 27001” certification for Information Security Management System
15:49 Rosmorport's sailing ship “Mir” to sail around the world in 2022-2023
15:12 Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives approval in principle for LNG fuel gas supply system from Bureau Veritas
15:04 A.P. Moller - Maersk integrates the European customs services specialist KGH Customs Services
14:35 Harvey Gulf orders Wärtsilä Energy Storage for another four LNG-powered Supply Vessels
14:30 Average spot market price for Russian M100 product rose to RUB 11,894 pmt
14:11 GTT announces the acquisition of Areva H2Gen
13:58 Project on construction of fish terminal “Udarnik” registered as second resident of Arctic Capital PDA
13:17 Ukraine's January-September 2020 coal imports down 15%
13:11 ZIM and Alibaba.com sign strategic cooperation agreement
12:52 Port of Riga sets itself new goal to become region's leader in grain handling
12:33 TransContainer increased container transportation volumes by 15.1% YoY
12:04 Port of Oakland names Acting Communications Director
11:47 Blagoverf shipyard lays down buoy tender of project 3052 for Rechvodput
11:06 EPS collaborates with GoodFuels for marine biofuel bunker trial
10:42 Ocean Yield ASA acquires two suezmax newbuildings with long-term charters
10:40 First sections for ice-resistant platform LSP “A” shipped to outfitting yard
09:58 North Carolina Ports awarded $16 million grant for infrastructure improvements
09:39 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, October 19
09:25 Week beginning is marked by oil prices decrease
09:12 Baltic Dry Index as of October 16

2020 October 18

16:05 Inmarsat and Cobham SATCOM enable Maldives fisheries sustainability with Fleet One
15:58 JAXPORT now offers expanded service to the West Coast of South America through ONE
14:11 Nordic American Tankers says full financing of Suezmax duo is in place
13:14 Bright outlook at Gibdock as bookings remain solid
12:27 Supply contracts signed for main equipment for Squadron 2020 project
11:09 Port of Gdansk inks LoI with Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority

2020 October 17

12:54 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from West Med, Adriatic, Black Sea & East Med to Far East
11:51 CMA CGM extends PSS from Asia to North Europe
10:42 THE Alliance announces updated service adjustments for November 2020
09:34 The largest LNG-powered container ship ever built features Wärtsilä solutions
08:37 CMA CGM and MSC share information through the blockchain-based data platform TradeLens

2020 October 16

18:43 Taiwanese dredging project awarded to Van Oord
18:33 Yair Seroussi appointed as ZIM’s Chairman of the Board of Directors
18:00 Сargo turnover of DeloPorts terminals in 9M'2020 increased by 40% YoY
17:36 Krylov Center scientists developed 6.5 MW electric propulsion/steering unit
15:59 Throughput of Kaliningrad port in 9M’2020 fell by 6% Y-o-Y
15:01 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from the Middle East Gulf to North Europe and the Mediterranean
14:37 Throughput of port Vyborg in 9M’2020 fell by 46% Y-o-Y
14:14 Scorpio Bulkers announces the sale of an Ultramax vessel
13:55 Oboronlogistics completes summer navigation 2020 with cargo delivery to Tiksi
13:13 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from North Europe to Gulf and Red Sea
12:51 Throughput of port Vysotsk in 9M’2020 fell by 6% Y-o-Y
12:49 Damen hands over MV Swift to Windermere Lake Cruises
12:34 Throughput of Ust-Luga port in 9M’2020 decreased by 1% Y-o-Y
12:12 CMA CGM to launch BRAZEX 2 service, a new milestone for CMA CGM in Latin America
12:06 Belgian and Dutch inland ports plan to establish a single shore-based power system
11:51 Bunker prices started decreasing in the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
11:33 Throughput of Port St. Petersburg fell by 2% in 9M’2020
11:12 PrimeServ upgrade delivers massive emission and fuel savings to Norwegian trawler
10:58 Global Ports' 9M 2020 consolidated marine container throughput increased by 7.1%
10:14 Container throughput of Hong Kong port (China) in 9M’2020 fell by 3.2%
09:53 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Oct.16
09:36 Throughput of Chinese sea and river ports in 9M’2020 climbed by 3% YoY