Conditions for crew changes around the world have improved in the last six months, but not by enough. The global shipping community needs to maintain its pressure on IMO member states, says Ian Boyd, Group Sales Director – Shipping for the GAC Group.

This time last year, every crew change successfully achieved seemed exceptional. They were complex tasks involving multi-faceted challenges and ‘unknowns’ as government instructions and medical advice changed frequently, even daily.

Since then, the international shipping community has adapted to the new status quo brought about by the pandemic. The industry’s efforts to convince state and local authorities to recognise seafarers as key workers have made a difference, but crew changes continue to be challenging in many parts of the world.

By May 2021, only 55 out of the IMO’s 174 member states had recognised seafarers as essential workers. That number has now reached 60: still not enough. Pressure needs to be kept on the more than 100 states yet to act.

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