The Greek Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, Mr. Giannis Plakiotakis, wrote a letter to the General Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Mr. Kitack Lim urging him to take immediate measures to address the major issue of crew replacement and repatriation of seafarers remaining on ships due to the pandemic of the COVID-19.
Mr. Plakiotakis’ initiative aims to compensate, as far as possible, the measures to restrict the movement of people who have been taken by a large number of countries to limit the spread of coronavirus and to continue the possibility already provided by Greece and other shipping countries for a few months to extend the duration of individual maritime employment contracts (with the consent of the seafarers), as well as the validity of the seafarers’ ability certificates and the ship’s certificates.
Given that 90% of world trade is carried by sea, the continuation of maritime transport services is of crucial strategic importance to the global economy and therefore IMO needs to take action to ensure the smooth operation of the industry internationally.
Referring to this initiative, Mr. Plakiotakis underlined the following:
“The unimpeded conduct of maritime transport, through which raw materials, medicines and medical supplies, energy products, food and other vital goods are transported, must be included in the Government’s main aspirations.
Today, Greece is taking the initiative to ask the International Maritime Organisation, IMO to promote a global approach to facilitate the replacement of crews and the repatriation of seafarers, as a necessary prerequisite for the smooth continuation of maritime trade”.
And he concluded: “Supporting shipping is our first priority at this critical time, but it is also our strategic choice because maritime transport is what will allow the world economy and our country to return to normalcy and growth as soon as possible.”