Category Archives: News

Governments Must Allow Crew Changes – FONASBA Statement

FONASBA is joining with the other members of the international maritime industry group on COVID-19, coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping, in raising awareness of the plight of 400,000 seafarers who are currently unable to return home at the end of their contracts or join their ships. This situation has arisen as result of a lack of action by some national authorities in recognising the special status of seafarers, and their importance to the global supply chain, and so allowing them to travel without needing to obtain visas or comply with other immigration rules.

The importance of seafarers in maintaining supply lines is vital to ensure that the world is fed, kept warm and moving, and provided with essential supplies, has been the subject of statements by the International Maritime Organisation and others across the entire spectrum of the maritime sector. Significant efforts have been made by IMO, the International Air Transport Association, the maritime sector and airlines to work together and put in place procedures and protocls to allow the physical movement of seafarers whilst negotiating the significant problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some national authorities have worked closely with maritime organisations to allow crew changes to take place and they are to be commended for their efforts. The top 10 countries for crew changes identified in May by the International Chamber were: The Netherlands, Germany, China, the United States, Belgium, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, Spain, Norway and the Republic of Korea. In total, crew changes were recorded as having taken place in 50 countries. Unfortunately, the refusal of other countries to roll back their normal procedures is placing lives, and the international supply chain, at significant risk.

Of the 200,000 seafarers still stranded on their ships, many will not have been home for 14 to 16 months, having already had their contracts extended as an immediate and necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same number are waiting to replace them. The nature of seafaring has always brought with it significant mental health risks but these have been significantly exacerbated by the current situation around repatriations and suicides amongst trapped seafarers have risen sharply.

FONASBA members worldwide are joining with their counterparts in the ship owning, crewing, port and related sectors to lobby immigration authorities to lift the restrictions on seafarer movements. In support, FONASBA and the other industry group members have issued a common statement that sets out the situation in clear and unequivocal terms. It is reproduced below but can also be downloaded as a .pdf here.

Rest assured that we will continue to lobby governments and their immigration authorities until free and unrestricted movement of seafarers can once again be undertaken.

We will bring our seafarers home!

FONASBA Joins Call To Accelerate Digitalisation of Port and Logistics Sectors .

FONASBA is one of a number of major maritime industry bodies to support a call from the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) to harness the pressure for change generated by the current COVID-19 pandemic to accelerate the pace of digitalisation within the international port and logistics sectors.

In a statement issued today (Tuesday 2nd June) IAPH, endorsed by FONASBA and a range of port, cargo handling, ship owning and ship operating organisations, have called on regulators, port operators and the wider supply chain to recognise the advantages and resilience provided by an increased use of digital technologies in ports. At present, less than 40% of the Member States represented in IMO have functioning port community systems and the statement calls on IMO to press forward with implementation of the mandatory requirements enshrined in the FAL Convention for Member States to introduce single windows and to press ahead with harmonisation of data sets for ship reporting, just in time arrival and streamlining of port services. Introducing the long-awaited electronic bill of lading is another objective.

The statement also calls on all stakeholders to cooperate on the development of platforms for the exchange of data and “smart working” along the entire supply chain, backed up by capacity building initiatives including workforce training and the introduction of enhanced cyber security provisions.

A copy of the statement can be found here.

Young Ship Agent or Ship Broker Award 2020

As a result of only three synopses being received for initial consideration by the YABA Review Committee, the Committee has reluctantly decided that the 2020 Award will be postponed. Unfortunately it is not feasible to hold a valid competition with five or less entries. It is however the intention to re-run the Award in 2021 and if the three prospective 2020 entrants decide to do so, their entries will be carried over until next year.

Further information on the conditions of entry for the 2021 YABA, along with the applicable deadlines and other guidance, will be circulated to members in October or November.

FONASBA Joins Industry Group in Drafting IMO COVID-19 Recommendations

A high-level maritime industry group representing ship owners, ports, classification societies, P&I clubs and marine equipment manufacturers, as well as ship agents and brokers, has come together under the coordination of the International Chamber of Shipping to  draft recommendations for the facilitation of maritime trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three papers have been endorsed by the International Maritime Organisation to date.

The first, general guidance to national governments and authorities on maintaining maritime trade and recognising seafarers and shore-side workers as essential personnel, has been issued as IMO Circular Letter No. 4204/Add.6, and can be found here.

The second, providing a set of protocols for the management of crew changes  whilst in the midst of a blanket ban on the movement of persons and international passenger flights, has been issued as Circular Letter No. 4204/Add. 14 and can be found here.

The third paper, Circular letter No. 4204/Add. 16 is intended to assist in  managing the ship/port interface to ensure the safety of both seafarers and shore-side personnel and prevent the spread of COVID-19. A copy of that paper can be found here.

FONASBA is pleased and proud to have been able to contribute to the drafting of these documents, and by so doing to assist in ensuring that the maritime sector can continue to operate in the most efficient means possible whilst giving due regard to the need for robust and effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19: FONASBA Secretariat Arrangements

Due to the restrictions on travel put in place by the UK Government on Monday, 16th March to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and in common with many other organisations, the FONASBA Secretariat office will be closed until further notice. With immediate effect therefore, General Manager Jonathan C. Williams FICS and Assistant General Manager Victoria Marsh FICS, will be working from home.

Both our Secretariat email addresses, generalmanager@fonasba.com and admin@fonasba.com continue to be monitored at all times and telephone calls should be directed to Jonathan Williams’ mobile number +44 7778 497707.

We will of course notify the reopening of the Secretariat office as soon as we are able to do so.

ECASBA Supports Opatija Ministerial Statement

Following the High-level Ministerial Conference held in Opatija, Croatia on 10th March, the country’s Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure issued a statement calling for the European Union to work towards the implementation of a 5 point plan for the future of Europe’s Waterborne Transport Sector.

The statement, issued on 11th March in the presence of European Transport Commissioner Adina-Ioana Vălean, calls for action to:

  • Ensure a carbon-neutral and zero pollution waterborne transport sector,
  • Maximise the use of digital solutions to enhance connectivity and ensure seamless multimodal transport operations,
  • Ensure the competence of future European seafarers and inland navigation workers,
  • Achieve zero accidents in the maritime sector and
  • Ensure the EU maintains an effective and competitive maritime transport sector

Whilst recognising the actions already underway in Europe following the launch of the Green Deal, and through the NAIADES programme, TEN-T Network, European Maritime Single Window environment and similar actions, the statement makes it clear that where possible, agreement on these measures should be achieved at international level, through action in the International Maritime Organisation and the World Trade Organisation.

Welcoming the Ministerial Statement, ECASBA Chair Marco Tak said “ECASBA supports the actions set out in the statement and is committed to working with our parent organisation FONASBA and our European partners to achieve the ambitious but nonetheless achievable outcomes, for the good of both our ship agent and ship broker members and the wider maritime community. ECASBA and FONASBA are already active within the European and international maritime sectors on these matters and we will continue to strive to secure their implementation at the earliest opportunity”.

A copy of the Ministerial Statement can be found here.

Joint WHO/IMO Statement on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Secretaries General of the World Health Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation issued a joint statement on 21st February calling on Member States to ensure that precautions against the spread of COVID-19 do not result in “unnecessary interference in international trade”.

A copy of the joint letter can be found here.

ECASBA JOINS OTHER EU INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS IN SUPPORTING COMMISSION “GREEN DEAL”

ECASBA has joined 14 other European Union maritime organisations in welcoming the von der Leyden Commission’s “Green Deal” initiative (https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en) but has warned that implementation of same should not prejudice the ability of the European transport sector to compete globally.

The paper also called for the establishment of a comprehensive strategy for sustainable and smart mobility and for the elimination of administrative and regulatory burdens, including streamlining customs and other reporting formalities.

A copy of the paper can be found here.

FONASBA VICE PRESIDENT SUPPORTS PORTUGAL SHIPPING WEEK

FONASBA VICE PRESIDENT SUPPORTS PORTUGAL SHIPPING WEEK
As Executive Director of the Portuguese ship agents’ association AGEPOR, our colleague Antonio Belmar da Costa, (who is also FONASBA’s Regional Vice President for Europe and Chairman of ECASBA), was recently invited to appear in a short video message supporting the first Portugal Shipping Week which will take place in September 2018. (https://portugalshippingweek.com).

Antonio’s video can be viewed below. FONASBA and ECASBA are supporting organisations for Portugal Shipping Week 2018.

FONASBA NAMED AS “BEST MARITIME ORGANISATION” AT 2018 SHIPTEK AWARDS

FONASBA is honoured to have been recognised as the “Best Maritime Organisation” at the 2018 SHIPTEK International Maritime Awards event held in Dubai on 1st May 2018. FONASBA was represented at the awards ceremony by Nayana Nandkumar, our Deputy Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East and Manager of the Dubai Shipping Agents Association.

Thanking SHIPTEK for the Award, FONASBA President John A. Foord FICS said that it was very welcome, and much appreciated, acknowledgement of FONASBA’s standing as a high-profile and effective international maritime organisation.

Please find below photographs of Nayana receiving the award from Dr. Rashid Alleem, Chairman of the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) and joining with the other prize-winners on the night.