Cookies help us deliver the best experience on our website. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies Dismiss

Solving the crew-change challenge is proving difficult warns crewing manager

48687293313 bb0ec76b5e c 2

Henrik Jensen, Danica founder and managing director.

 

Solving the crew-change challenge is proving difficult under the current circumstances, warns crewing specialist Danica.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} Crew managers attempting to repatriate or relieve seafarers are facing a number of challenges, and these may be the tip of the iceberg for the shipping industry, says crewing specialist and founder of Danica Crewing Services, Henrik Jensen.

A number of companies and maritime organisations have joined forces to investigate how crew changes can be made possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jensen, However, global travel restrictions and quarantine requirements are proving difficult to overcome.

Part of the problem is that each country has its own version of measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “At present every country has its own set of rules. As a collective industry we now have work in progress to set-up an industry standard on how joining seafarers should be tested and stay in self-isolation before travelling etc,” Jensen explained. “This has two purposes: to develop a common standard policy which, if followed, would allow seafarers to cross borders and move to their vessels, and to reduce the risk to existing crew members of bringing the virus onboard.”

One of the biggest hurdles to be overcome at present is the lack of commercial flights to facilitate crew changeovers. The consortium is in the process of identifying key ports and investigating flight charter options.

“The problem we, and I guess many others, have is that the majority of our vessels are in the tramp trade with the schedule not known much ahead – which makes it difficult to determine the ports. Only 15,000 of the world fleet of 75,000 vessels are in the liner trade with relatively fixed schedules. It is very difficult to foresee where vessels will be at a certain time and therefore very difficult to consolidate crew changes with other shipping companies.”

If the group can secure flights the costs will not be cheap. Jensen said: “All this is not a free ticket. Chartered flights are expensive and so are the majority of the remaining commercial flights. We investigated putting on one flight within Europe and the costs with airport taxes would have been about 1,200 Euros one way per seafarer – for a journey which would usually be 3-350 Euro.”

“There is no playbook for this situation – new solutions need to be created to cope with the problems. It is important that all stakeholders in the industry come together to get in place common standards and new modus operandi to solve the problem. We need to help overdue seafarers as soon as possible to eliminate the safety risks posed by the stress and fatigue which is building up now.”

Ship operators are facing other costs too. COVID-19 test kits are expensive and, in addition, many crew members are being paid extra salary as compensation for staying longer onboard or spending time in quarantine facilities. “Shipping companies are already under financial pressure, with ships being idle, and I am afraid a huge crisis is looming,” remarked Jensen.

New builds also need to be collected. “A number of the owners we work for have purchased new vessels which are due to come under our management,” he explained. “While the takeover of these vessels has been postponed, it is now becoming imperative for commercial and legal reasons that the ownership change. Unfortunately, it is a challenge not only to get the crew onboard but also for the owners to have their superintendents, Class and Flag surveyors and technicians to attend the vessels in order to facilitate the change of ownership.”

When the pandemic begins to dissipate and global coronavirus restrictions are relaxed, crew change problems may become even more challenging, predicted Jensen. “I don’t want to be pessimistic, but I think this is going to take a long time. The world is not going to open up in one go – countries will come back step-by-step. The number of crew who are overdue being relieved is growing and to change large numbers of crew who will need to be replaced or moved at that time will be a challenge, particularly if ship operators are trying to remain within existing budgetary restrictions. We also need to bear in mind that replacing an entire crew who are overdue could jeopardise the safe operation of the vessel.

“In addition, the workplace will have to adapt as social distancing and other physical restrictions are likely to continue for the rest of the year – certainly that is what some leaders, such as the German Prime Minister, have indicated.” {/mprestriction}

Related items

  • V. Group releases Life After Lockdown paper

    Ship management company V.Group has released its second discussion paper in the ‘Life After Lockdown’ series, examining the acceleration of digital engagement.

    Each paper focusses on a specific area of maritime operations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and sets out key lessons learned. 

    The first paper discussed crew engagement post Coronavirus whilst the second is entitled “The acceleration of digital engagement.”

    Each paper aims to challenge long-established ways the shipping industry operates by posing questions and inviting the views of others in the industry.

    The second paper, a 20-page document, explores whether the pandemic could be a catalyst for change, challenging entrenched ways of working in the maritime sector. It looks at the industry’s use of small data, the impact of digitalisation on crew wellbeing as well as digitalisation’s role as a tool to drive environmental change.  

    Stephen Macfarlane, Information Systems director at V.Group, said: “There’s no doubt the pandemic has been a catalyst for change and as we look to the future, this paper explores the extent to which it has accelerated the move towards digitalisation and digital engagement.  There’s no doubt the industry has taken great strides in recent years, but the pandemic and resulting lockdown has certainly had an impact and it’s vital we learn from this.

    “We’ve all been forced to change the way we work and communicate with each other and the paper discusses whether the move towards a more digital workforce could be a long-term change.”

    To download a copy of the second paper “The acceleration of digital engagement” click here https://vgrouplimited.com/life-after-lockdown-2-download-the-paper 

  • Shipping report: “COVID corner-cutting will lead to an environmental catastrophe”

    The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has issued a stark warning that if temporary short cuts adopted in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic continue or become permanent, then there will be a rise in shipping accidents and environmental disasters.

  • Connectivity demand booms as leisure vessels become safer, reports IEC Telecom

    Demand for faster and cheaper connectivity at sea is set to increase as sailing is recognised as a safer place to work, travel and holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic says satcom specialist IEC Telecom, which is experiencing an increase in enquiries from vessel operators in the maritime leisure sector.

    With ‘lockdowns’ and restrictions easing in some parts of the world, yacht owners are now able to enjoy ‘social distancing’ onboard their vessels, which is leading to a boost in demand for high-speed connectivity and increased bandwidth capacity. With the focus on social distancing, yachts are becoming increasingly attractive remote offices for those able to attend to business matters while enjoying the open sea, sunshine and fresh air. During this challenging time, sailors have an increased need to stay connected for both personal and operational purposes as well as to avoid the need to go ashore as much as possible.

    The signs are pointing to an upsurge in leisure boating. Yacht chartering is seen as one of the safest ways to enjoy a break at present due to the minimal contact charterers have with other people. Yachts are considered to be more hygienic, given the ratio of crew to guests and the exclusivity of being on a private boat. Affluent consumers are looking for getaways with fewer crowds, more privacy and the ability to gather privately with those closest to them. The Boat Affair platform (whose rentals are available in more than 60 countries) has seen a 23 per cent increase in requests from customers who traditionally would opt for a hotel vacation or a seaside resort but are now seeking a safer alternative. And, according to a new survey by LuggageHero, 25 per cent of travellers report they will try to avoid crowded commercial flights and public transportation in a post-coronavirus world.

    Meanwhile, in countries where travel is still restricted, many larger leisure boats and super yachts remain fully crewed and operational – also leading to increased need for connectivity as crews try to stay in touch with family and friends while conducting as many ship operations as possible via remote techniques. With crew restricted to remaining on the vessel in many places, higher speeds and larger bandwidth capacity is needed to provide leisure activities too.

    The leisure boat sector was initially hit hard by international lockdowns and is now incurring additional costs for deep cleaning, personal protective equipment, virus testing etc which are not generally reflected in the charter fees. As a result, systems which allow to optimise bandwidth consumption in order to reduce expenses on communication are proving popular with consumers looking to install or upgrade yacht connectivity systems.

    Gwenael Loheac, chief executive officer Western & Southern Europe for IEC Telecom said: “Data traffic on leisure vessels has increased during this crisis period because crew, vessel operators and passengers need to exchange information on a more regular basis. In response to COVID-19, we are seeing increased demand for flexible tariffs to enable leisure vessel operators to adapt quickly to fluctuating connectivity requirements. Fortunately, we are well-placed to meet these needs, having a wide portfolio of solutions designed to provide best user experience, while keeping communications costs at bay.

    IEC Telecom recently launched OneGate Marine Compact, a new lightweight digital solution with a network management system which provides full visibility over on-board network assets (both satellite and GSM) and enables vessel owners to control expenses and optimise consumption via a digital dashboard.

    Mr Loheac commented: “OneGate Marine Compact was developed to cater to all major requirements of the leisure boat sector – addressing their needs for speed, bandwidth and cost optimisation. OneGate Marine Compact is an agile, lightweight, highly-adaptable and easy-to-install digital communications system which gives complete access to the benefits of digital connectivity even on smaller vessels. At this challenging time this system is providing many of the answers yacht owners need to enable them to conduct online business and leisure activities safely and securely.”

  • BV completes trial of remote surveys

    Bureau Veritas (BV) in Singapore, in collaboration with Nokia and Sembcorp Marine, has successfully completed remote surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic that pave the way for establishing a new class procedure for the remote inspection of vessels under construction.

  • Gizat rolls out air purification solution to maritime market

    Gizat Global Communication has signed an agreement with Aura Air to bring an innovative smart air purity solution to the maritime market in a bid to tackle pollution and the spread of bacteria onboard ships. The solution has proven a 99.9 per cent effectiveness against COVID -19.

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

Login/Register

Register or Login to view even more of our content. Basic registration is free.

Register now

Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.

 

Address:
Digital Ship Ltd
Digital Ship - Digital Energy Journal
39-41 North Road
London
N7 9DP
United Kingdom

Copyright © 2020 Digital Ship Ltd. All rights reserved           Cookie Policy         Privacy Policy