Ben Line Agencies joins Neptune Declaration campaign
As the pandemic continues into 2021, crew change remains a critical issue across the globe with an estimated 200,000 seafarers stranded at sea. Crew change is restricted at many ports and seafarers are stuck on board ships past their contract terms, with no clear indication of when sign off will be possible. This has a serious impact on the mental and physical well-being of seafarers who have been critical to transporting the world’s basic necessities.
Ben Line Agencies, together with over 300 maritime organizations, has signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change. It defines four main actions to facilitate crew changes and keep global supply chains functioning:
- Recognize 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
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a serious impact on seafarers around the world, who have suffered from not being able to get home or join a ship when their contracts are over. In our role as port agents across the region, we have seen firsthand how quickly and dramatically crew change regulations have changed, restricting the movement of crew on and off ships. Working with ship owners, ship managers, charterers, local government authorities and the crew themselves, is part of our daily role in the port. Facilitating crew changes is absolutely critical to ensuring safety at sea and on board ships. Ben Line Agencies is proud to be a signatory of the Neptune Declaration and the key actions that this declaration seeks to address. We will continue our best efforts and engagement with all parties, to ensure that seafarers are given the priority that they deserve, to be able to move on / off ships in the safest way possible” said Kristian Vandermeer, our group managing director.
Learn more about the declaration here.