Neptune Declaration is Shipping’s Urgent Call to End Crew Change Crisis

On behalf of the European shipping industry, ECSA fully supports the new global pledge to urge policymakers to end the deepening crew change crisis.  

In the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change launched today, the signatories comprise over 300 maritime industry and human rights leaders, who vow to deliver on the shared responsibility to resolve the global crew change crisis that has left hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded at sea.

Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary-General stated:

“ECSA stands behind our companies that have signed the Neptune Declaration, and the European shipping community fully commits to ensuring the rights and wellbeing of the seafarers who have been supporting the continuous running of the global supply chain.”

The pledge specifically calls for the following concrete actions to be taken:

  • 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

“Governments must now be held to account. The key to ending this humanitarian crisis is the close collaboration between the authorities, the whole maritime industry, and our social partners,” continued Mr Dorsman. “We all have to realise that no action is not an option, because it would further worsen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and make it even harder for the world to recover from the aftermath.”

On 21 January, ECSA addressed an open letter to all EU Member States, copied to the heads of the EU institutions, requesting them to show leadership and international solidarity in tackling this stage of the global fight against the pandemic. In the letter, ECSA highlighted the dire need to put seafarers on Member States’ priority list for vaccination, and to implement high-quality crew change protocols to uphold seafarers’ well-being and prevent further disruptions to the supply chain.

Click here for the full text of the Neptune Declaration