PSC regimes cooperate with IMO on renewals of certificates and crew changes
Port State control (PSC) regimes, following their first virtual meeting (Circular Letter No.4204/Add.8) (LINK), actively joined forces with IMO in a second meeting, centred on the new IMO Guidance on surveys and renewals of certificates in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the impact of the pandemic on seafarers, maritime safety and the marine environment, in particular with respect to the ongoing problems of undertaking crew changes.
Opening the meeting, IMO Secretary-General praised the collaboration and cooperation demonstrated by PSC regimes, which have led to tangible progress since the beginning of the crisis.
PSC regimes shared their appreciation of the release by IMO of Guidance regarding surveys and renewals of certificates during the COVID-19 pandemic, via Circular Letter No.4204/Add.19, which was developed in cooperation with the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), actively involved in the meeting. PSC regimes are willing to support the implementation of this guidance within the remits of their mandate and many have already distributed it to their members.
With respect to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a representative of the ILO Secretariat introduced the Information note on maritime labour issues and coronavirus (COVID-19) covering Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)-related issues.
PSC authorities carry out inspections of visiting ships to monitor and enforce compliance with MLC requirements that may be impacted by the inability to undertake timely crew changes, in particular, with regard to safety and health, seafarers' employment agreements, the right to repatriation and the right to medical treatment ashore.
The meeting recognized that the facilitation of crew changes is not under the direct control of PSC authorities and may be limited by such matters as border closures, national public health restrictions and the availability of commercial flights.
Nevertheless, many PSC regimes supported the efforts of IMO and ILO to facilitate crew changes and repatriation and promoted the help that PSC authorities can provide to the IMO's Seafarer Crisis Action Team to resolve individual cases with regard to information on the situation onboard specific ships.
They also envisaged the possibility for their members to raise the awareness of national authorities having a role in facilitating crew changes, of the potential impact of excessive periods spent by seafarers on board ships on their physical health, the safety of ships and the protection of the marine environment. PSC regimes welcome the information disseminated by IMO via Circular Letter No.4204/Add.22 on Singapore Crew Change Guidebook.
The second video meeting for the Port State Control (PSC) regimes on harmonized actions, assistance and pragmatic approach at the time of pandemic of COVID-19 was attended by representatives from all 10 PSC regimes, namely the United States Coast Guard, the Viña del Mar Agreement and the Abuja, Black Sea, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Paris, Riyadh and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on port State control.