At their meeting today, ECSA's Board of Directors voiced its support for the positive outcomes for the European shipping industry at the informal teleconference of the Transport Ministers that took place on 29 April 2020.
The Ministers very much echoed the industry's perspective that a common European approach is urgently needed to manage the impact of the current crisis on European shipping.
The ECSA Board appreciates the special emphasis the ministers put on the organisation of crew changes and their safe work conditions, where a number of Member States highlighted the urgent need for a coordinated solution to the issue. Following the Guidelines published by the European Commission on 8 April, ECSA is working through its membership to swiftly identify and report the bottlenecks on the ground.
The industry also welcomes the point raised by several ministers that under these unusual circumstances, companies should be given the flexibility to issue vouchers instead of cash reimbursements, as published in the Executive Summary of the meeting.
Additionally, the ECSA Board extends its gratitude to Transport Commissioner Valean for stepping up to help alleviate some of the burdens currently faced by the industry.
The ECSA Board also welcomes the Commission proposal on extending the validity of certain certificates, licenses and authorisations, and postponing certain periodic checks and training in certain areas of transport legislation. It is currently impracticable for companies to renew the relevant documents as required by the maritime security legislation. ECSA fully endorses such flexible and pragmatic solutions while not compromising security.
The European shipping industry with its 685,000 maritime personnel is resolved to ensure stability in the supply chain throughout the course of this COVID-19 pandemic. Together with its international partner, the International Chamber of Shipping, ECSA is calling on all ships in ports will sound their horns at 12pm local time on Friday 1 May, Labour Day, to call for urgent, long-overdue crew changes for the 150,000 seafarers trapped at sea worldwide, including 25,000 on board ships of the European Union, the United Kingdom and Norway.
ECSA therefore invites all EU policymakers as well as member states to recognise their contribution by providing a quote or a public statement of support.