The Union of Greek Shipowners underlines the urgent need to normalize repatriation and crew replacement procedures

Piraeus, 13.7.2020

With the pandemic continuing to spread around the globe, the need for uninterrupted operation of international shipping, which serves 80% of world trade, remains a fact of vital importance.

However, in order for shipping to fulfil its role, shipping companies must be able to safely and efficiently man their ships and make the necessary crew changes. However, so far, despite the interventions of international shipping organisations and of many maritime countries, including the Greek government, the various current restrictions on travel around the world are preventing crew changes.

From the very beginning, the Union of Greek Shipowners stressed the need for those in charge internationally to facilitate the smooth movement of seafarers around the world, always guided by their safety and health, and called for seafarers to be designated “essential workers” in order to ensure their free movement.

In this context, the Union of Greek Shipowners welcomes the recent joint declaration of 13 countries, including Greece, which most emphatically recognizes the need for a substantial solution to the problem of crew changes.

The President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Mr. Theodore Veniamis, stated: “Representing the Greek shipping community which controls 20% of the world’s tonnage, I feel morally obliged to once again address the competent authorities of all countries, which bear exclusively the responsibility, and ask them to facilitate, by adopting realistic and practical procedures, shipping companies to make the necessary crew changes smoothly. Our seafarers, the soul of our ships, have stood like true heroes of the sea during this difficult and unprecedented period, at the forefront of the effort to ensure the smooth operation of the supply chain. Now is the time for governments to intervene, so that seafarers can return home safely, and others to assume their duties and to continue their great work.”

Press release in Greek

Union of Greek Shipowners - press release