First Ship Registry Joins Neptune Declaration on Crew Change

Crew change in Singapore (courtesy Singapore MPA)

Published Feb 2, 2021 5:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Liberian Registry announced Tuesday that it has joined the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, making it the first flag registry on the list of 300-plus maritime stakeholders. 

The registry joins a coalition of prominent shipmanagers, shipowners, insurers and charterers from across the spectrum, including CMA CGM, Maersk, BP, Cargill, Synergy Marine, Wallem, NYK and Wilhelmsen.

“I am very proud to have the Liberian Registry join as signatory to the Neptune Declaration.  It is an honor for us to sign, and we pledge to continue our efforts in facilitating crew changes aboard our 4,600 vessels around the globe," said LISCR chief operating officer Alfonso Castillero. "COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges, and we have been fighting for the facilitation of crew changes since the early days of the pandemic, working closely with industry bodies such as ICS and ITF, port and coastal states, and with the owners and operators of Liberian flagged vessels.”

As of December, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) estimated that some 400,000 seafarers were still serving on board past the end of their normal contracts, stranded by restrictions on crew change imposed by many port states (and a subset of charterers). 

The Neptune Declaration attempts to break the deadlock, calling for efforts to designate seafarers as key workers; give them priority access to COVID-19 vaccines; ensure connectivity for air travel for seafarers; boost collaboration on crew change; and participate in implementing best-practice health protocols.

"It takes courage to take this stand and fight for not only what is right for our seafarers, but for the maritime industry and world trade," said Castillero. "There is so much more work to be done to solve this crisis, and we will continue to work day and night in support of this along with the other partner signatories of this very important declaration."