IMO urges ‘keyworker’ exemptions for seafarers

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has echoed shipping industry calls for governments to keep shipping and supply chains open and grant special travel exemptions to seafarers in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

In a circular letter issued on March 30, the IMO outlined a series of recommendations for governments and relevant national authorities, proposed by a broad cross-section of global industry associations representing the maritime transportation sector.

The circular specifically called on governments to designate professional seafarers and marine personnel, regardless of their nationality, as ‘key workers’ providing an essential service. 

It also reiterated earlier calls made by Kitack Lim, secretary-general, IMO, that it was “crucially important that the flow of commerce by sea should not be unnecessarily disrupted.” He took the opportunity to repeat his own statement that seafarers are “on the front line of this global calamity” and that the situation needs a “practical and pragmatic approach, in these unusual times, to issues like crew changeovers, resupply, repairs, survey and certification and licensing of seafarers.”

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