German EMS-Fehn-Group, a supplier of comprehensive logistics solutions, has joined the international initiative to quickly resolve the worldwide crew change crisis by signing the „Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change.“ Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of seafarers have been stranded aboard vessels around the globe. With no chance of being relieved, they have to keep working beyond the expiry of their initial contracts. The extended periods at sea are detrimental to their health, causing fatique and an overall decrease in their physical and mental wellbeing. With the „Neptune Declaration,“ so far more than 500 companies and organizations worldwide seek to speed up efforts to resolve this international humanitarian crisis.
„There is no doubt that seafarers are among those who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic,“ says Manfred Müller, EMS-Fehn-Group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). „At EMS-Fehn-Group, we always put the wellbeing of the crew aboard our vessels first – especially since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, the past year has dramatically shown that efforts of individual companies, organizations and even governments do not suffice to improve the situation of seafarers worldwide in general to a substantial degree. Therefore, we support the ,Neptune Declaration’.“
The declaration calls for urgent action and identifies four principles as being key to addressing the crisis.
- Recognize seafarers as key workers and treat them accordingly by giving them early access to Covid-19 vaccinations
- Implement high quality health protocols
- Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
- Ensure airline connectivity between key maritime hubs
EMS-Fehn-Group provides a wide range of logistics solutions, many of which are directly linked or closely related to the shipping industry: Fehn Ship Management, for example, is in charge of the group’s own fleet of short sea vessels, while sister company EMS Chartering is specialized in all services regarding sea transports. Northwest Crewing and Baltic Transocean Shipping & Crewing are the group’s own crewing companies, supplying ship owners and ship managers with seafarers of all ranks. At the same time, other group members such as EMS Log, specialized in worldwide project logistics, strongly rely on sea transports when servicing their customers. The same holds true for Italian Shipping & Logistics Agency, which in addition serves major shipping companies in several ports in Italy as agency. Further companies of the group act as shipping agencies or operate their own port terminals, for example EMS Albanian Port Operator in Durrës, Albania. There, in Albania’s largest port, sister company German Albanian Logistics Agency also supports crew changes.
„Without seafarers, international trade and thus the standard of living most of us enjoy today would simply be unthinkable,“ says EMS-Fehn-Group’s CEO Manfred Müller. „The crucial role seafarers play in today’s world has to finally be acknowledged. We need to combine forces. Everyone in the maritime industry and government institutions around the globe have to do their part to resolve the crisis brought about by the pandemic as rapidly as possible.“