Djibouti organises first crew-change in over a year for seafarers stranded due to Covid-19
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recently called for international solidarity in helping seafarers stranded due to logistical complications caused by covid-19. Djibouti, which sits on the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, one of the most important maritime routes in the world, announced recently that it was ready to facilitate crew change operations for all boats passing by its shores.
The first crew change operation took place this weekend: 18 Ukrainians and one Russian, who had been sailing on the M/V Mirela boat, under the Cypriot flag, have now been reunited with their families after over a year at sea. The Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority coordinated the operation, putting in place the logistics for the transfer of the seafarers - both the crew returning to land and the relief crew - between the port of Djibouti and their home countries. These operations will continue to happen over the coming days. It is estimated that 400,000 seafarers are stranded on sea or land at the moment due to the Covid-19 restrictions on international travel that have been put in place around the world.