Since I last wrote to you on 22nd June, a lot has happened within V.Group and the wider maritime industry to tackle the lack of crew change opportunities throughout the world.
We hope that wherever you are, you continue to be safe and well.
Through the combined efforts of our crewing & ship management teams and those of you onboard, we have managed to increase the number of crew changes that are taking place. Last week we saw a total of 668 crew movements to and from vessels. This is a definite and steady improvement but we also realise that these numbers do not help those of you that are still stuck onboard or remain at home.
We continue to work with many maritime industry associations to lobby governments about the plight of seafarers because of travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. One of these challenges is the requirement for all non-European seafarers joining vessels in Europe to have a Schengen visa. At the same time, many of the European consulates located in countries where many of you live, are either closed or working at reduced capacity. This combination of problems leads to a vast reduction of crew changes that can be arranged in European ports.
I have attached a copy of a letter that has been sent to the President of the European Commission and other EU leaders, asking for all seafarers to be classified as key workers, so that visa waivers can be granted. In addition, the letter also asks for conditions to be met that allows ‘air corridors’ to be set up, into and out of the major European airports.
In addition, our crewing and ship management teams continue to explore all options to undertake crew changes onboard your vessels. We understand that the regular update sent to your vessel on a weekly basis, is an important way to keep you informed of the latest situation.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for your ongoing patience and I hope that you and your families stay safe and well.
Chief Executive Officer
Crew Management, V.Group