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.
FONASBA’s European Committee, ECASBA, has issued a public statement outlining its main priorities for the establishment of effective, comprehensive, and workable single windows at national and European level. The statement brings together the views that ECASBA has regularly expressed in its discussions with the European Commission and other industry bodies, at conferences and seminars and in published articles.
A .pdf copy of the statement can be downloaded here.
Our colleagues at BIMCO launched a short video that makes clear the importance of international shipping to our current way of life and the vital role played by seafarers and everyone else in the maritime community in keeping the world fed, warm and moving. The video has been generously provided by BIMCO for use by the global shipping sector and we are pleased to support their actions. It is a powerful message that needs to be spread as widely as possible amongst national governments, authorities and the wider public.
On the first Friday in November, the maritime world is in Hamburg to celebrate the annual Hamburg Shipbrokers’ Dinner, also known as Eisbeinessen. From its humble beginnings in 1948, this event has grown to include a main dinner for up to 4,000 participants and numerous other dinners held elsewhere in the city. With an estimated 10,000 ship brokers, ship agents and other maritime professionals in the Hanseatic city during the days leading up to the Friday night dinners, Hamburg becomes the centre of the maritime world.
FONASBA is been proud to have been a part of this celebration for many years, with General Manager Jonathan Williams attending as a guest of the association and other FONASBA associations being nominated the “partnerland”. In recent years, our members in Turkey, the USA, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, Dubai and France have been so honoured.
Similar to many other events in 2020, Eisbeinessen fell victim to the COVID pandemic and the dinner was cancelled. In order to keep sprits up, and to remind the world that Eisbeinessen will be back in 2021 however, Evangelos Efstathiou, CEO of Burmester & Vogel, a freight technology company based in Boston and Hamburg, offered to make a video to celebrate the event. FONASBA was honoured to be invited to participate in the video and it features clips from General Manager Jonathan Williams, Swedish Shipbrokers’ Association Director Berit Blomqvist and Executive Committee members (and Ship Agent Committee Chair and Vice Chair ) Waldemar Rocha jnr., representing Brazil, and Simone Carlini, representing Italy. As may be expected, Christian Koopman and Dr. Alexander Geisler, Chair and Director of the German shipbrokers’ association, ZVDS, also feature.
FONASBA congratulates Evangelos Efstathiou and the Hamburg Shipbrokers Association on producing such an excellent video, which can be viewed below.
How might the traditional role of the ship agent and the ship broker change?
FONASBA General Manager Jonathan C. Williams FICS has joined with colleagues Associate Professor Mikael Lind of Research Institutes of Sweden, Sue Probert, Chair of UN /CEFACT and Juan Carlos Croston VP Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Manzanillo International Terminal to look at the way new technologies in information sharing will change how ship agents and ship brokers work and interact with other players in the international maritime chain.
The article suggests that ship agents and ship brokers should leverage the unique level of information they already possess to become hubs for the exchange of data across the ship/port interface and drive changes in the way business is carried out, whilst at the same time adding even more value to the services provided to their principals.
FONASBA has joined with other members of the international industry group coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping in supporting IMO Circular Letter No. 4204/Add. 23, that calls on national governments to allow access by seafarers to medical services ashore during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IMO letter recognises that in some states the provision of medical care to crew members has been restricted due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 but urges those states to put measures in place to ensure that crew members can access medical care at all times and for any reason. It also reiterates the guidelines issued previously in relation to the precautions to be taken by ships and shore authorities in relation to suspected cases of COVID-19.
The introduction to the letter states: “The Secretary-General endorses these Recommendations and urges their dissemination and implementation. Member States, in their capacities as port and coastal States, are invited to apply the Recommendations and bring them to the attention of all concerned, in particular border control and port health authorities”.
FONASBA has once again urged its member associations to continue to engage with national authorities to ensure they do allow seafarers to access medical treatment ashore at any time and for any reason.
A complete copy of the Circular Letter can be found here.