Concerns about the levels of COVID infections in Belgium in December, and the resulting imposition of restrictions on meetings and social events, led to the Executive Committee and our hosts NAVES and the Antwerp Shipping Federation agreeing to postpone the meeting planned for 30th November to 3rd December.
Following that decision, which subsequent events have proven to the be the correct one, negotiations were reopened with the Lindner Hotel, the conference venue, the Antwerp Stock Exchange, venue for the Gala Dinner, and the other social event hosts and we are pleased to report that the meeting has now been rescheduled for the week commencing 14th March 2022.
Further details of the rescheduled Annual Meeting can be found on the Events page here.
With the environmental and sustainability profile of shipping under scrutiny as never before, all the component sectors must play their part in achieving real reductions in emissions and enhancements in sustainability – and ship agents and ship brokers are no different.
Compared to the shipping and port sectors, for example, the overall emissions footprint of both professions is relatively small, but the role of the broker and agent in guiding, informing, and supporting shipowners and charterers, from the fixing of the vessel to completion of the port call, means they have a specific and influential role to play in ensuring that the voyage is as clean and green as possible.
With COP26 imminent, and to encourage the ship broking and ship agency sectors to take positive action to support the overall aims of reducing emissions and enhancing sustainability, FONASBA has issued a Sustainable Development Declaration. Equally applicable to those working directly in those professions as to the national associations that support and represent them, and to FONASBA itself, the Declaration provides guidance to enable ship agents and ship brokers in playing an active and effective role alongside other industry partners.
FONASBA’s 2021 Annual Meeting will be held in Antwerp, Belgium from 30th November to 3rd December, hosted by NAVES, the Belgian Ship Agents’ and Ship Brokers’ Association.
NAVES has established a dedicated website for the event that can be found at: www.fonasbaantwerp2021.com It includes full details of the delegate and partner programmes, the conference hotel, information on travel to Antwerp, current COVID-19 regulations, precautions and facilities and a host of other useful guidance. The website also includes links to the registration and hotel booking applications.
Following the success of their previous video, “Ships Make the World Go” (see below) our colleagues at BIMCO have now launched another, this time entitled “Seafarers Deserve Support”. This new video not only reiterates the role of international shipping in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and enabling global recovery, and the concern felt by the international maritime community at the ongoing crisis in carrying out crew changes, but also highlights the danger faced by crews from piracy.
As with the previous video, “Seafarers Deserve Support” is an urgent appeal to governments and authorities to recognise the vital importance of seafarers to the global economy and to ensure they can stay safe at sea and be allowed home at the ends of the contracts.
We are pleased to be able to promote this video in raising awareness of these issues and to support the call for action in putting appropriate measures in place to mitigate them without delay.
FONASBA also congratulates BIMCO on another powerful and thought-provoking video.
Last year’s first “Ships Sound Their Horns” campaign was incredibly successful in bringing attention to the plight of seafarers resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, those issues are ongoing and, in many cases, have been exacerbated by the closure of borders and further bans on international travel following the detection of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The international maritime community is therefore supporting a repeat of the campaign as a means of reminding legislators and the general public of the importance of international maritime transport to the global economy and well-being. Accordingly, ships are being encouraged to sound their horns at midday in their location on 25th June, the International Day of the Seafarer.
Since the very early days of the pandemic, FONASBA has fully supported, and contributed to, the efforts of the maritime community to raise awareness of the plight of seafarers stranded on vessels beyond the end of their contract period, and of their replacements who are unable to join their vessels, and continues to work with the other associations to bring this about. We are therefore proud to support this action again this year. A new video has been released by the International Chamber of Shipping to emphasise this message and it can be seen below, or via the link: https://vimeo.com/549298838
With seafarers being very much in the front line of international actions to address the COVID pandemic, it is timely that IMO has made the seafarer the centre of its 2021 World Maritime theme. This theme will be promoted and publicised through a number of initiatives and actions throughout 2021, the first of which is a series of interviews with serving seafarers.
As IMO states in the introduction to the first video, an interview with British Chief Engineer Matt Forster, “this video series will share the insight and experiences faced by seafarers during the pandemic, reflecting a clear need to raise awareness of seafarersʹ vital role in world trade and increase their visibility”. The video can be found on IMO’s YouTube channel and below.
FONASBA strongly supports this message. It, and the link to the video should be shared as widely as possible amongst the maritime community, the press and, perhaps more importantly, with the national authorities responsible for ensuring that seafarers are recognised, firstly as human beings and secondly for the role they play in keeping us all warm, fed and watered. Hopefully seeing some faces, and hearing their stories, may at last convince those in authority to recognise seafarers as essential or key workers and redouble their efforts to allow crew changes to take place easily, quickly and effectively.