Category Archives: News

Seafarers Deserve Support

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.

Ships To Sound Horns Again For Seafarers Day 2021

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:

The campaign is also being broadcast on social media, using the hashtag: #ShoutOutForSeafarers

FONASBA Supports IMO World Maritime Theme 2021

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.

ECASBA Issues e-Maritime Declaration

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.

“Ships Make The World Go”

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.

The video can be viewed below:


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.

The article has also been published in The Smart Maritime Network , the Maritime Executive and Shipinsight  (Please note that this latter article requires a sign-in).


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.

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!