The Shipowners' Club has said that shipowners and managers are facing many challenges in meeting various regulatory requirements in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, in a recently released statement.
In particular, the measures taken by governments around the world to combat the spread of the virus have had an impact on the requirements stipulated by the Maritime Labour Convention and also in making arrangements for mandatory surveys and audits necessary for statutory certification.
With regards to the Maritime Labour Convention, these challenges are most prevalent in the crewing of vessels which have led to an inability to return seafarers home at the end of the period listed in their employment agreement.
“Such situations may also result in seafarers staying on board beyond the maximum allowed period and thereby contravening the applicable regulations of the Maritime Labour Convention. If members are faced with such a situation, they should contact their flag state (the jurisdiction under which a vessel is registered) and submit a request for extension of the sea service period of the individual seafarer and submit together with associated documents, as required by the flag state,” the club said.
The club also advised members to request a deadline extension for the mandatory surveys and audits necessary for statutory certification, in the case they are unable to complete them due to lockdown measures.
The statement noted that several flag state authorities are already taking a pragmatic approach in these uncertain times and may allow for suitable extensions and dispensations.
Further, the current pandemic might also affect port calls, and the club advised owners to ensure that both they and their crew remained up to date with any additional requirements the individual ports might have in place to deal with the situation.
“Close contact should be maintained with the local port authorities and local agents to ensure that any additional port requirements are clearly understood and complied with. Failure to do so may cause the vessel to be delayed, detained or even refused entry,” said the club.