Liberian Registry becomes 1st ship registry to sign the Neptune Declaration

The Liberian Registry has become the very first ship registry to sign onto the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change.

Seafarers; Image by Offshore Energy

The Liberian Registry joins over 300 owners, operators, and maritime organizations in this very important worldwide call to action to end the unprecedented crew change crisis caused by COVID-19.

Signatories of the Neptune Declaration committed to act including calling industry peers and governments to:

  • Recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
  • Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
  • Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers

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“ 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.  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,” Chief Operating Officer of the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR), Alfonso Castillero, said.
“ 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. 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.”

COVID-19 related restrictions have forced hundreds of thousands of workers to overrun their contracts, raising concerns over ship safety, crew fatigue and access to healthcare. 

Seafarers are currently being severely impacted by crew change crisis, with some approaching two years stuck at sea.

While more than 40 countries have so far recognised seafarers as key workers, the majority of seafaring nations have not, creating growing demand from within industry for new solutions to the issue of vaccine distribution, before the humanitarian crisis facing seafarers gets any worse.

What is more, industry bodies are caling for the removal of the “no crew change” clauses from charterparties, stressing that such clauses exacerbate the dire situation of stranded seafarers and undermine the efforts undertaken to resolve the ongoing crew change crisis. 

The so-called “no crew change” clauses, which are demanded by certain charterers, state that no crew changes can occur whilst the charterer’s cargo is onboard – hence not allowing the ship to deviate to ports where crew changes could take place. 

The clauses are being pursued at a time when over 400,000 seafarers are stranded at sea due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, well beyond their contract expirations, and over 400,000 seafarers unable to sign onto ships.