Charterers in the
dry bulk sector have been preventing much needed crew changes from taking place
despite owners agreeing to pay the associated costs, according to INTERCARGO,
the leading association of dry bulk sector operators.
Charterers have simply ignored relevant provisions and rejected crew
association said in some of these instances, charterers have simply ignored
relevant provisions and charter party clauses or rejected crew changes
outright. “Indeed, it has been reported that bulk carriers changing crews in
certain countries in SE Asia are being treated as ‘toxic’ by charterers for the
14 days following crew change,” INTERCARGO said in a statement strongly
condemning the charterers participating in the practice.
“This flies in the
face of industry wide efforts to offer seafarers the essential rest that they
have been so long without during the COVID-19 pandemic, and which is essential
to the safe operation of the shipping sector,” INTERCARGO said.
The latest estimates, some 400,000 seafarers working beyond the scope employment
estimates are that some 400,000 seafarers are stuck at sea working beyond the
scope employment agreements. A similar number are stuck shoreside, unable to
work or earn an income due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
A crew must be well rested to operate a ship
appalling practice has been reported primarily in the dry bulk sector, where
the prevention of seafarer fatigue is of special concern. Bulk carriers on
tramp trading routes call at many more ports than other shipping sectors,
piling added strain on an already fatigued workforce with no hope of crew
change. A crew must be well rested to operate a ship in compliance with the
voyage instructions from the charterers: to load and discharge the cargo,
ballast and de-ballast, wash, dry and present cargo holds, open/close hatch
covers and carry out the multitude of associated tasks to ensure safe operation
of the vessel. It is very disappointing that dry cargo charterers do not
understand or wish to take responsibility for the concept of the common venture
which exists under a time-charter,” INTERCARGO said.
to state unequivocally that this issue goes further than the charterer’s
corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental, social and governance
(ESG) responsibilities, and displays a clear lack of appreciation of one of the
greatest humanitarian crises to affect the maritime sector,” it added.
Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) represents the interests of
dry bulk shipowners controlling close to 2,400 registered ships out of more
than 11,000 ships in the global dry bulk fleet, corresponding to over 25% of
the global dry bulk fleet basis deadweight.