Dispatches No. 481

Dear Members,

Please rest assured that we are in dialogue with many maritime organisation trying to represent members views and positions. Today, once again we have requested from ICS definite, acceptable procedures and protocols which could be followed by us, crew and ship managers when executing crew changes.

We have been promised these procedures to be with us by the end if this week.

………………………..

We have been made aware that messages we have sent to members over the last 2-3 days have not reached you. We are looking into it as we speak, but in the meantime, please find below a string of messages regarding POOLING RESOURCES FOR SEAFARERS:

Message No. 6

I became aware that you might not have received this message earlier on as the link provided was triggering your spam filters/firewall. Therefore, I would appreciate it if you could just send me a quick confirmation of receipt, please.

For continuity reasons, please find previous messages appended in this message.

UPDATE 21 April 2020

Aa/

Our work concentrates on finding CONCLUSIVE TESTS. I would like to thank all our members who have shared their findings and tests with us. All these tests were sent to WHO for their appraisal, and we have received the following answer:

Some of these tests may be better than others, but there is not enough confirmation yet on specificity and sensitivity. Of course, it is also true that if a test is used several times within a specific interval, the risk of false-negative or false-positive tests becomes much smaller.

Just suppose a test has a risk of false-negative results in 30% of the persons tested. This means that of ten persons tested three will test negative but may still carry the virus (10 x 0.3 = 3). If we repeat the test after two weeks on the same group of ten, the risk of testing false-negative two times in a row is very small; actually 10 x 0.3 x 0.3 = 0.9, and after three times testing, the false-negatives are almost certainly excluded.

The more these tests are used, and in case of mild symptoms repeated, for example, the more accurate the results will be. I would not invest in buying large quantities of these test: the Food & Drug Administrations will come with results on larger groups soon, and then we will see.

Testing is the future for ships, but it is too early.

Some propose to test seafarers who want to embark several times two weeks before their medical, at the medical examination, and right before they leave. This may be a strategy to consider in combination with isolation, however it will not be easy.

Therefore, it is probably up to us to try this method and discuss it with owners and P & I clubs whether this would be an acceptable way forward?

Comments/suggestions are welcomed.

bb/
We have examples of loosening lockdown procedures in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden.

cc/
Members are reporting successful crew changes in the US and Brazil.

Dd/

Emirate Airlines to test passengers:
https://www.emirates.com/media-centre/emirates-becomes-first-airline-to-conduct-on-site-rapid-covid-19-tests-for-passengers/

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Message No. 5

Dear Members

We are receiving many messages a day and trying to answer them as they come. Therefore, please find below the answers we provided to your questions from YESTERDAY ONLY:

Aa/

In order to assist our members with booking flights, InterManager has teamed up with QA Travel to test the pooling facilities.

Please see the website link: https://www.qatravelsos.com/crew-travel-solutions.

We appreciate that many of you have your own travel agents, but should you need a “second opinion” (and we are asking for it frequently), then please find the “independent” travel agent that I have been working with for many years.

Bb/

 

United is flying to the US, and our members are reporting successful crew changes in the US, even with EU ON-SIGNERS.

 

Please note the below message from US Authorities: crew members are permitted to travel.

 

PASSENGERS WHO HAVE TRANSITED OR HAVE BEEN IN AUSTRIA,

BELGIUM, CZECHIA, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE,

GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, IRELAND (REP.), ITALY,

LATVIA, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MALTA,

NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA,

SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND OR IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

(EXCLUDING OVERSEAS TERRITORIES OUTSIDE OF EUROPE), IN THE

PAST 14 DAYS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER THE USA.

 

 

THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO B1 CREW MEMBERS THAT ARE ENGAGED

IN LIGHTERING, OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF (OCS) ACTIVITY, WIND

FARM ACTIVITY, PRIVATE AIR/SEA CREW AND OTHER SIMILAR

CREWMEMBER ACTIVES.

Cc/
All our efforts are now directed to find out the best solution for the “14-day quarantine on arrival on board” for on-signers.

Meantime I would urge members to share their Best Practices, please.

Dd/

We sought ITF and IMEC advice on CBA understanding of “door-to-door” vs 14-day quarantine on arrival home.

“Seafarers’ wages to stop on arrival home” is their advice.

This is met with some resistance from off-signers who, in that case, don’t wish to go home for being afraid to bring the virus with them and infect their loved ones.

As above, members are kindly requested to share their Best Practice, please.

ee/
AIRLINES STOCK CHECK as of 16.04.2020 – we know of those flying:

Emirates

QATAR

Air France – KLM

United

Delta

Easy Jet

Aviana

Finnair

BA

Iberia

Qantas

Any other examples, please? Let’s share.

Ff/
Known areas of crew changes by our members:

US (Houston)
Ras Laffan (off-signers only)

Berlin as a hub/transit

Singapore

Manila

Norway (offshore)

Minsk

Any others, please?

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Message No. 4

Dear Members

Following on from our message last week, please find below an update on the Ras Laffan situation:

After a lengthy discussion with Qatar Airlines, we have tried our contacts in Ras Laffan, and two SHOW STOPPERS have been identified as of 13.04.2020 – highlighted in BOLD and RED below.

 

Appraisal of the situation 

 

Ras Laffan provides an excellent opportunity for crew changes.

8-10 LNG ships at any given time in the vicinity. That translates to 10 x 28 (crew members) = 280 seafarers. If we assume that 20% of them are due for repatriation then we have potentially 56 seafarers keen on flying home and 56 seafarers to FLY INTO Doha and then on their way to Ras Laffan.

 

This 56 off-signing seafarers most probably comprise of:

 

50% Filipino = 28

Remaining 50% = 28 consist of:

10 Indians

5 Greeks

5 Croatians

5 Poles

3 other

 

Mapping of the processes:

 

OFF-SIGNING:

 

  1. Off-signing crew leaves ship (no reported symptoms, and they have been quarantined on-board for 14 days: a trip to Ras Laffan from whatever destination)
  2. Dedicated land transport gets them to the airport to a special zone, which will allow 100% social distancing
  3. Special dedicated “corridor” through Customs & Emigration
  4. Special dedicated zone on the “airside” where they would wait for their flight
  5. Escorted “convoy” to the plane
  6. Flight
  7. Arrival at their destination

 

ON-SIGNERS

 

  1. The arrival of the on-signing crew three days before off-signers flights (same corridors, transfer arrangements as for above off-signers)
  2. On-signers to go to the dedicated hotel
  3. On-signers to be tested
  4. Tests arrive and negative ones allow for boarding (positive tests to be medically treated)
  5. Handover

Item 1 above:
A serious problem with on-signing seafarers to leave their home countries because of local lockdowns and lack of flights, despite EU Communication and guidance regarding the free flow of seafarers. Seafarers are absolutely NOT a priority of local governments of India, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Russia etc.. Therefore, members with a strong presence and good contacts in seafarer-supplying countries are kindly requested to contact us in order to progress this issue.

Item 3 above:

Presently in Qatar, anyone entering the country is placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Even if we manage to set up a corridor to bring them from the airport to the vessel, we need to ensure that the joiners would not board an aircraft infected with the COVID-19 virus. Our corporate policy requires all crew members joining a vessel to undergo specific lab tests (PCR) before being placed onboard, which is currently not available in Qatar at this moment unless the individual has symptoms of COVID-19.
We are going to work with local authorities regarding laboratory testing (PCR) availability in Qatar.

 

As can be seen from the above, OFF-SIGNING seafarers is possible and has been successfully carried out. Admittedly, these were seafarers who did NOT need to be relieved by ON- SIGNING personnel (riding squad, technicians, cadets etc.)

As an additional issue, I would like to report ongoing growing frustration on board vessels worldwide. InterManager is in contact with seafarers directly but we are also monitoring social media.

Senior officers on board are frequently reporting growing frustration on board ships. Crews are asking Masters and Chief Engineers:

 

  • Why vetting inspections are still being arranged by the office, while the same office sends elaborate instructions and advice on COVID-19 (inspector travels across many countries and is allowed on board without quarantine)
  • Why port officials are allowed on board without face masks and gloves in great numbers: they are visiting food stores, galleys, and accommodation blocks, endangering those on board.
  • Why there is very little support from the office regarding garbage landing (ports refusal to accept garbage – quoting “service suspended”).

Senior officers on board are fully responsible for their crews and are asking for assistance. They see how they are being treated by local authorities and wonder whether they could follow that example?

 

Members are kindly asked for BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES to be shared among members, please. What are we doing to ease the situation on board our vessels?

………………

Message No. 3 – scoping exercise

Dear Members,

Thank you very much for all your comments regarding ports and domicile airports.

Today we have a chance to see for the first time how the pooling would work:

We have some serious interest to carry out our crew changes in Ras Laffan. This will be in cooperation with Qatar Airline and full chain of custody assuring all local COVID-19 regulations are strictly observed.

Can I asked who would be interested?

How many seafarers and what would be their domicile airports, please?

What dates?

……………………………………………………………………………………….

MSG NO. 2

Dear Members

This is part 2 of the scoping message – this time we are asking you to have a look at the below lists and add the most important ports and domicile airports for your seafarers.

Presently, please do NOT worry about port or airport restrictions.

We are working with airlines and local administrations. Please be also aware that EU and WHO have been very receptive and cooperative when it comes to seafarers’ travel, contrary to what international and industry press is reporting.

Proposed places where most of InterManager’s members’ ships call at (in order of frequency):

  1. Singapore
  2. Rotterdam / Antwerp
  3. Gibraltar
  4. Fujairah
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Suez
  7. Panama
  8. Kiel Canal / Hamburg / Baltic

Please help to populate this list.

Proposed domicile airports for highest number of seafarers employed:

  1. Manila  – Filipino
  2. Deli – Indians
  3. Odessa – Ukrainians
  4. Moscow – Russians
  5. Gdansk  – Poles
  6. Shanghai – Chinese
  7. Bucharest – Romanians
  8. Zagreb – Croats

Please help to populate this list.

Perceived issues

  1. Ensuring we do not introduce COVID-19 to ships
  2. Co-operate closely with local authorities whose knowledge of new international regulations might be lagging
  3. Educate ship’s crew who might be very reluctant to go home/to receive new crew members

Please help to populate this list.

……………………………………………..

Message No. 1

 

Dear Members,

 

Pooling resources for seafarers’ travel might be a viable option PARALLEL to the suggested creation of hubs. It is NOT suggested to DEVIATE ships to specific ports to enable crew changes: it is, however, to create a system where crew managers/ship managers could pool their sea staff to travel from the same location to the same location.

 

This is the first “scoping” message to all our members, and we are seeking your opinion. There will be a second message shortly afterwards with the proposed most convenient ports, but also seafarers’ domicile airports. Please stay tuned and let us have your opinion please! 

 

We are of the opinion that the success of this InterManager initiative lies in its simplicity. It will work as long as we ALL WANT IT TO WORK, and will work together to convert problems to solutions.

MAIN OBJECTIVE – create a viable system for seafarers to travel in the COVID-19 world.

 

HOW – ROAD, AIR, WATER

 

MAIN PLAYERS – Seafarers, ship/crew managers, airlines, local authorities etc.

 

Other stakeholders:

 

  • Families
  • Port personnel (agents, security, terminal staff)
  • Fellow seafarers
  • Border personnel (customs, immigration etc.)
  • Airport personnel
  • Airline personnel

 

The main idea of the CREW TRAVEL is to pool resources of many ship management/crew management companies in order to create economy of scale for airlines/bus operators to provide their planes/buses in order to transfer seafarers from overseas locations to home and return.

Perceived issues:

  • Local COVID-19 Barriers
    • Closed ports
    • Closed airports
    • Closed roads
    • Closed borders
  • International barriers
    • Quarantine requirements
    • Closed air spaces
    • Closed borders
  • Perceived problems with seafarers’ availability
    • Seafarers’ unwillingness to travel
    • Families’ unwillingness to receive seafarers back home

 

 

It is paramount for the success of the project to create a SAFE ENVIRONMENT, almost a CUSTODY SYSTEM of transfer from the vessel to home, and from home to the vessel.
This SAFE ENVIRONMENT has to be documented, as it is expected it will be closely scrutinised by many stakeholders before, during, and after seafarers are being transferred.

 

It is suggested to start slow in order to test the concept and to slowly increase the number of seafarers and locations.

 

First steps which have already been taken as of 05.04.2020:

 

  • Identification of crew/ship managers interested
  • Identification of airlines interested
  • Identification of nationalities of seafarers
  • Identification of hubs (sea ports and domicile airports)
  • Identification of links and partners responsible for these links

…………………………….

 

Last week:

  • Working on COVID-19
  • Working on Nigeria latest hijack case

…………………..

This Week:

  • Working on COVID-19
  • Working on Nigeria latest hijack case

…………

Looking forward:

All travel cancelled 

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Mt Kilimanjaro August 2020

We are taking on this giant of the world in August 2020, and we are looking for participants now so that training can begin and we can build a good plan for fundraising.

This is certainly one of life’s achievements and will not be forgotten easily!

Minimum sponsorship amount £5000.

Brochure and video being created.

I hope you’re well and will join me in a canoe or on a trek, maybe?

 

Kindest regards

Rebecca Bridgen

Events Fundraiser

Sailors’ Society

+ 44 7712 404130

 

……….

 

Brgds Kuba

Capt. Kuba Szymanski

Secretary General

+44 7624 498 266

 

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