Skip to main content

Investment firm Fidelity backs global efforts to resolve crew change crisis

21 December 2020

Investment firm Fidelity has joined the campaign to designate seafarers as key workers –  declaring that the crew change crisis is 'not just a shipping problem, but first a humanitarian crisis and then a global supply chain risk.'

The company has called for 11-month onboard maximums to be followed, as it says the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause a threat to ‘our current way of life.’

In a letter posted on the Principles for Responsible Investment website, Fidelity calls for member asset managers to urgently sign its letter to the United Nations. It calls on 'all relevant parties to address the humanitarian crisis and the supply chain risk in relation to the more than 400,000 seafarers being stranded aboard vessels and a further 400,000 remaining ashore with little prospect of work or pay.' 

The letter explains the situation caused by Covid-19, which has led to strict national movement restrictions, impacting the ability of existing crews aboard commercial vessels to disembark and replacement crews to take their place. The lack of flights has further added to the logistical challenges.

'The environmental consequences of a serious maritime accident involving these cargoes could be catastrophic for our oceans and our security. As investors, it is clear that this is no longer solely a shipping industry problem nor a crisis that the shipping industry can resolve on their own. Shipping is responsible for 90% of global trade and holds the key not just to a global economic recovery from the devastation of Covid-19, but to maintaining our current way of life.'

Fidelity said the International Chamber of Shipping estimates the number of seafarers affected could soon reach one million if this issue is not addressed urgently.

'This issue is presenting significant health and safety concerns to the already elevated mental and physical stress seafarers are facing and has the potential to result in major safety risks when exhausted seafarers handle dangerous or perishable cargoes.'

Nautilus is leading a Crew Change for Christmas campaign calling on all governments and the UN to ensure that seafarers are designated as key workers and enable them to pass through borders closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.