Proposal for SA to open its harbours for stranded ships in need of crew changes
These crew members have been trapped on containerships and other cargo vessels for longer than their contracted periods, which is typically between four months and a year.
Because of Covid-19 lockdown rules across the world, mariners have been stranded on ships, unable to disembark for the past two months, with no end in sight.
At the same time, mariners who have been on leave at home remain stuck at home, unable to get back to earning an income.
The shipping company Offshore Maritime Services has proposed that Cape Town and Port Elizabeth open their ports to facilitate crew changes for ships along the East-West shipping route.
Godfrey Needham, general manager of Offshore Maritime Services, says shipping crews have been exchanged around the world for hundreds of years.
Needham says local ports could offer a mariner's isolation centre for crews disembarking from ships until they can be repatriated home on chartered flights.
South Africa could offer that facility, [for mariners] to be taken off and fresh crews put on to continue on their voyage.Godfrey Needham, General Manager - Offshore Maritime Services
All these mariners have already been in isolation for more than two weeks... when we bring them onshore.Godfrey Needham, General Manager - Offshore Maritime Services
Right now, there's at least 150,000 mariners worldwide who are stranded. They are effective prisoners on floating prions out at sea.Godfrey Needham, General Manager - Offshore Maritime Services
Very few countries on the world offer the opportunity for them to go home on leave and for fresh mariners to join the ships.Godfrey Needham, General Manager - Offshore Maritime Services
That leaves them [mariners] at sea in a hopeless situation.Godfrey Needham, General Manager - Offshore Maritime Services
They continue sailing the world, unable to get off.Godfrey Needham, General Manager - Offshore Maritime Services
Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:
Source : https://www.123rf.com/photo_106955605_container-ship-sailing-in-sea.html