Category Archives: Ticker

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:

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.

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.