News dalla rete ITA

7 Aprile 2020



MANILA - Port restrictions and cancelled flights are straining the ability to replace seafarers on board ships, further weakening global supply chains already snarled by the coronavirus pandemic.Hubs such as Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai have halted most crew transfers, while global lockdowns have complicated travel from the Philippines, which supplies about a quarter of the world's seafarers.At risk is the flow of goods like food, medicine and energy via commercial shipping, which accounts for about 80 per cent of global trade. While unseen by most consumers, restrictions on crews are among the unprecedented challenges wrought by the virus, which has ground major economies to a halt.About 100,000 seafarers each month need to be changed over from ships to comply with maritime rules that regulate safe working hours and crew welfare, according to a March 19 letter from the International Chamber of Shipping. If changeover restrictions continue there could be fewer available ships and higher freight costs, said Dario Alampay, chairman of the Filipino Shipowners Association.Countries and ports should consider exemptions for seafarers similar to those granted to airline and health workers, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Essential medicine and equipment is already being held up in several ports in Europe, it said."You do not want to risk working with a fatigued, overworked crew," said Mr Alampay. Exhausted seafarers are more prone to distress and lack of focus, which can lead to accidents, he said. The longest seafarers should be on board a ship is 11 months, according to the Maritime Labor Convention.Another option is for shipowners to drop off and pick up crews in Manila. Some foreign ship owners are already looking at this option, according to Mr Alampay, who said deviating on a route that runs from Japan or Singapore to Australia to change a crew in Manila could add an extra three days and drive up costs by as much as US$15,000 a day for a Supramax vessel.Typical rotations on cargo vessels last between three and nine months and seafarers often work 12-hour days, six days a week.The 80 per cent of global trade transported by commercial shipping include food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components, according to UNCTAD. (ICE SINGAPORE)

Fonte notizia: The Business TImes, 7 April 2020