EPS Signs Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing

26 January 2021
EPS Signs Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing

Eastern Pacific Shipping joins over 300 other global industry and human rights leaders to sign The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change in a worldwide call to action to end the unprecedented crew change crisis caused by Covid-19. 

Hundreds of thousands of seafarers from across the globe have been left stranded working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their initial contracts and are unable to be relieved since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Fatigue after long periods at sea has significant consequences on the physical and mental wellbeing of seafarers. It also increases the risk of maritime incidents and environmental disasters, and poses a threat to the integrity of maritime supply chains, which carry 90% of global trade.

Despite significant efforts by international organisations, unions, companies and some governments to resolve this untenable crew change crisis we are starting to see the situation getting worse as governments bring in more travel bans in response to the new strains of the Covid-19 virus. A number of key issues leave this critical situation unresolved: national authorities around the world continue to see crew changes and international travel as a Covid-19 risk; high-quality health protocols are not being consistently implemented by ship operators; and the disruption of international air travel has reduced the number of flights between traditional crew change hubs and major seafaring nations.

More than 300 companies and organizations recognize that they have a shared responsibility based on their roles across the entire maritime value chain, and beyond, to ensure that the crew change crisis is resolved as soon as possible. They have signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change that defines four main actions to facilitate crew changes and keep global supply chains functioning:

  • 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 collabortation between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure air connectivity between maritime hubs for seafarers

“The EPS Life at Sea Programme is designed to improve the long term mental and physical wellbeing of our seafarers. Part of this programme includes addressing the current situation our colleagues at sea are facing due to Covid-19. However, it will take the cooperation of the entire maritime industry to fix this crisis on a global scale. That’s why EPS is a proud signatory of The Neptune Declaration. Taking on shared responsibility with over 300 organisations is the best way to combat global crew change restrictions. EPS stands by our seafarers, and all seafarers, always,” says EPS CEO Cyril Ducau.

Learn more about the Neptune Declaration and see the full list of undersigning companies and organisations here.