Jamaica maritime chief calls for ‘crew change hubs’
The head of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica has called for a global network of crew change hubs to resolve the ongoing crisis.
By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas Correspondent
Rear Admiral Peter Brady (ret.), the director-general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, has called upon the international community to establish a network of crew change hubs to offer short-term relief for stranded seafarers victimized by the ongoing presence of travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This short-term solution, he says, could facilitate trade and logistics to benefit the world economy and seafarers’ human rights.
“In the Caribbean for example, several smaller States still have not reopened their borders, so no one is coming in and no one is going out,” Brady said, via several trade publications like Ship Insight and Seatrade-Maritime News. “With a hub, seafarers would be able to move and to move more freely. Some natural crew change hubs already exist pre-Covid-19, by virtue of the concentration of shipping, and we suggest that more could be developed to deal with the current stagnation of crew travel in parts of the world.”
Brady’s comments come when the international maritime industry is experiencing an unprecedented crisis tied to labor security and the wellbeing of human capital.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries worldwide have implemented travel restrictions to curtail the virus’s spread or its variants sourced from foreigners.
These restrictions have, in effect, forced seafarers into de facto imprisonment aboard their vessels for months without relief and disembarkation. Hundreds of thousands of seafarers have fallen victim to these restrictions and the isolation caused by the pandemic.
“Whether they are then retained in the long term would be subject to global strategy and based on [an] assessment by [the] industry of their costs and benefits,” Brady said.
He further explained that the Jamaican government had reopened its borders for controlled entry and transit for crews stranded on their vessels.
A Disaster Risk Management Order issued by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his cabinet in June of 2020 also classifies seafarers and maritime service laborers as ‘essential.’