3rd Virtual PSC meeting

Remarks by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim – 3rd Virtual PSC meeting

Friday 18 December 2020

I would like to welcome you to the 3rd meeting of all PSC regimes and would like to also thank the ILO Secretariat and the representatives form ICS, IACS, InterManager and ITF for your participation.

We all know why we are here – we are here for the seafarers, and we are here for ship safety, safety of navigation and the continuation of world trade.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on the maritime sector, in general, and, in particular, on seafarers, who should be designated as key workers, as urged by us, the UN Secretary-General and as most recently expressed in the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on 2 December.

In previous two meetings, we all promoted the value of the spirit of cooperation and, the importance of a better understanding of the issues being faced by all actors. PSC regimes agreed to cooperate with IMO on the major issue to facilitate crew changes.

Of grave concern, are the extended periods onboard with a risk of adverse health impacts for seafarers, including physical and mental health issues, and their potential impact on the safety of navigation.

IMO and PSC regimes resumed meetings virtually and today's meeting is an opportunity to share information on relevant developments and to harmonize our approaches.

Port States, as efficiently coordinated by regional PSC regimes, ILO, IMO and the industry continue to adopt guidance. Different groups, established to address the major issues, such as the IMO Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT), the Corona Strategy Group und the PSC regimes' task forces, are working tirelessly to monitor the situation in the maritime sector and identify concrete actions to improve the current situation and facilitate crew changes.

A major recent development is the United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on UN Member States to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as key workers and to implement relevant measures to allow stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships, and to ensure access to medical care.

But we obviously need more than words and declarations.  We need action.

There is already a lot of valuable information shared through IMO circular letters issued by IMO as well as at the request of Member States, NGOs and IGOs. There is a need to exchange views, share information and work on additional guidance

I am certain that we can use this opportunity to raise awareness and exchange view on most pressing issues, especially the crew change crisis.

IMO is determined to continue and strengthen this communication channels, with PSC regimes but also with other UN agencies and NGOs.

With this, I wish you a successful meeting and fruitful discussions.