Djibouti offers crew change support for all ships


Djibouti announced at the United Nations its readiness to facilitate crew change operations in Djibouti for any ships passing through the Bab el Mandeb strait, with the necessary support provided by the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA).
The country is responding to the joint statement of the IMO and UNCTAD – the UN’s maritime and trade bodies respectively – to support crew changes and ensure that maritime personnel can return home safely when the time comes to do so.
Travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 mean that crew changes have been delayed but they cannot be postponed indefinitely; it is estimated that starting in mid-June 2020 as many as 300,000 seafarers a month will require international flights to enable ships’ crew changeover and 70,000 cruise ship staff are waiting for their repatriation.
“DPFZA recognises and is grateful that the maritime community continue to provide essential services through the global pandemic to ensure that word trade continues to flow and is committed to being part of the global solution to support these key workers,” DPFZA said in a statement sent to Capital. “DPFZA also calls on other countries to take similar steps to facilitate coordinated support for seafarers around the world and calls on all ship-owners to support the effort by availing air repatriation solutions for maritime personnel,” the statement adds.
Maritime transport depends on the 2 million seafarers who operate the world’s merchant ships, which carry more than 80% of global trade by volume, including most of the world’s food, energy, raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components and is vital to sustainable development and prosperity.
IMO and UNCTAD have been continuously highlighting the risks to shipping and trade arising from the COVID-19 impacts and have called for collaborative efforts to address the challenge.
“For shipping to continue to operate safely, we are seeking the support of Governments to facilitate crew changes and ensure crew wellbeing, by facilitating repatriation and safe return home of seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel and offshore energy sector personnel, as well as access to medical care for sick or injured crew and to medical prescriptions,” said in a joint statement.