5 May 2020
In a circular addressed to all IMO Member States, UN agencies, inter-governmental organisations and NGOs with consultative status at the IMO, Secretary General Kitack Lim expressed his support for a recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations are addressed to maritime administrations and relevant national authorities including, inter alia, health, customs, immigration, border control, seaport, and civil aviation authorities. They also address the roles of shipping companies, their agents and representatives, including crew agencies, and the seafarers they employ; as well as seaports, airports and airlines involved in the process of facilitating travel for the purpose of ship crew changes. The framework was produced by a coalition of international organisations led by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), including the main shipowner organisations represented at the IMO, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, IAPH, P&I clubs and associations of ship masters, ship managers and ship agents. The protocols also take account of input from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).