To date, only 30% of the necessary crew changes have been made. 100,000 seafarers have been repatriated but another 200,000 are still trapped on board their ships, which many have not left for over a year.
Far from home, in extreme psycho-physical conditions, forced to work with long expired contracts. There still seems to be no end to the drama of the trapped seafarers. Denouncing the situation is the international association Intermanager, whose members manage 30% of the world fleet operating today.
“Either they lie, or they pretend not to see what’s really happening,” rages the Secretary General of the association, Kuba Syzmanski, mentioning as an example the numerous difficulties that the pandemic has been creating for seafarers, especially Emirate seafarers, who are still unable to repatriate.
“Over the past few weeks, the political leaders of the Arab Emirates have offered reassurances on a rapid solution to the problem, declaring their willingness to carry out crew changes, but as things stand, the local authorities controlling the borders are not allowing this to happen.” Symanski denounces the lack of coherence and contradictions of a country that allows the entry of tourists but not seafarers.
Similar problems are also found in countries such as the Philippines and India. According to the Association there are only a few flights organized for repatriation and even fewer seats reserved for seafarers.
Translation by Giles Foster