Seafarers continue to face serious challenges with crew changes and vaccination requirements, warns industry body Intercargo.

As the global economy opens up as the Covid pandemic subsides, the crew change crisis has largely disappeared from the headlines, however, many challenges remain as some countries struggle with Omicron waves.

“Seafarers around the world continue to face serious problems with crew changes, port entry and changing vaccination requirements,” said Dimitrios Fafalios, president of Intercargo.

“New waves of infection continue to hit ports and once again we see local authorities creating their own interpretation of the rules.

“This is happening today in ports around the world and governments and administrations seem not to have learnt the lessons of the last two years as they move towards a post-Covid agenda.”

Chinese crew changes have remained a challenge throughout the pandemic with extremely strict rules for the return of seafarers and this has been further complicated by blockades at major ports against Omicron.

Intercargo says that in a number of ports around the world seafarers continue to find shore leave restrictions and difficulties in accessing emergency medical care, a recurring and potentially life-threatening problem during the pandemic.

The trade association is concerned that the war in Ukraine has seen seafarer and Covid issues fall off the maritime agenda.

Fafalios said: ‘The situation is ongoing and requires commitment from the industry. Our efforts to highlight the plight of seafarers must not stop and the industry must never in any way consider what is happening to seafarers today as normal.”