Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) - 2nd extraordinary session, 16-18, 21 September 2020, (closing remarks)



Monday, 21 September 2020 

Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates,

As we are approach the end of a unique session of the Maritime Safety Committee, I would like to commend you all for your great efforts under the prevailing circumstances, I am of course referring to the unprecedented pandemic situation and its consequences, in particular for shipping.

The IMO spirit of cooperation has again proven itself to be alive and well as showcased by your committed adoption of this crucial resolution, which calls on Member States to respond to the humanitarian and safety crisis faced by seafarers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This resolution should help ensure integrity of employment and human rights of seafarers and, consequentially, minimize disruptions to global trade, supply chains, efficient operation of maritime transport and ensure the continued movement of food and livestock, products and other essential goods by sea.

Seafarers can not remain at sea indefinitely, in addition to the humanitarian crisis that has been caused by keeping them effectively trapped on their vessels, the safety issues that arise from overly fatigued and mentally exhausted seafarers to continue operating vessels are a matter of great concern.

If the crew change crisis is not resolved, ships will no longer be able to operate safely pursuant to the Organization's regulations and guidelines further exacerbating the economic impact of COVID-19. I am therefore very happy to see your unanimous agreement to this MSC resolution, which will assist in resolving this crisis.

As many Member States are aware already, I am again taking this opportunity to request all of you to consider raising this issue of the crew change crisis  and its devastating effect on seafarers during the upcoming High-level week of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which will begin on  22 September 2020.

ILO, IMO and the UN Global Compact are jointly organizing a side event during that week, to raise awareness of the crew change crisis, which will take place on World Maritime Day on 24 September.

We must resolve this global crew change crisis as soon as possible, it is now time to row together, it is time for action.

I would like to express my special thanks to all Member States for your hard work on that issues and also I would like to express my deep appreciation to the industry group, particularly ICS and ITF and also the seafarers' welfare organizations.

There has been, as you know well, an extraordinary cooperation and effort by ICS and ITF. I really appreciate their devoted contribution and effort to improve and resolve these issues.

I would like to thank the other UN system organizations, like ILO, WHO, ICAO and other organizations, withing the UN system.

Particularly, there has been a lot of cooperation between ILO and IMO for a long time, however, I personally and we at IMO, have seen an extraordinary, remarkable collaboration between the two organizations on the seafarers' crisis issues. I really appreciate t

I would also like to thank all relevant staff members, who work on these issues, led by the LED and MSD and others for their devoted efforts. It has been a very difficult journey to reach this situation.

This is not something, we can resolve in the near future, it is something, which will need more time. We need to continue our close cooperation and collaboration among all Member States, together with industry representatives.

It remains for me to thank you all for your active participation in this special meeting. I would like to thank the Chair and Vice-Chair of MSC. Particularly, I would like to express my deepest thanks to Mr. Brad Groves of Australia for the extraordinary leadership, to reach the very successful outcome of this meeting with the adoption of the resolution. Thank you very much.

I wish you all, all the best and always stay safe and well.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.