End the crew change crisis

Let's end the crew change crisis

Nautilus International is calling for an end to the crew change crisis, which has left 400,000 seafarers stranded on their ships with no end in sight. 

Show your support now by signing our petition.

What is the problem?

International restrictions on the movement of people in the wake of Covid-19 are putting unbearable pressure on seafarers. This has meant that crew changes have not been able to take place, leaving an estimated 400,000 seafarers from across the globe stranded on ships, continuing to work but unable to be relieved.

Some seafarers have now been at sea for nearly 2 years without a break.

Additionally, as a result of the crisis, another 400,000 seafarers are at home and unable to join ships. Often unable to access financial support from their government, they are now facing serious financial hardship.

What are we calling for?

We are calling governments and the United Nations to work together to ensure that seafarers are designated as key workers in every country, and allow global crew changes to take place. 

Take action now

  • Throughout December 2020, we shared real stories from seafarers and their families on the impact of the crew change crisis. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedInFacebook and Instagram, and share our content to spread the word. 

  • Post on social media using the hashtags #CrewChangeCrisis and #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers.

  • If you have been affected by the crew change crisis, complete our five-minute survey and share your story.
  • Finally, make sure you sign our petition, and ask your colleagues, friends and family to do the same. 
Sign our petition

Share your support

Our campaign has received support from partners in the maritime sector, as well as MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum. 

Why not send your own message of support for our seafarers?

Email a message of support

'Our seafarers keep the supplies arriving at our ports and for many the Covid-19 pandemic has been a significant mental health challenge.

'Border closures have left seafarers trapped on their ships for many months, with some now facing their second Christmas away from home.

'I am pleased to support the Crew Change for Christmas campaign.'
Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Chair of the Maritime and Ports APPG

"The work of seafarers is the backbone of our country’s trade and prosperity, but too often there is too little attention paid to their health and wellbeing. It is not right that nearly half a million mariners who have been working for up to 18 months face the prospect of being stuck on their ships over the holiday season. I am calling on the International Maritime Organisation and the global community to make sure that crew change happens and seafarers get home for Christmas."
Nus Ghani MP, Former Maritime Minister

'As the Covid -19 pandemic has unfolded I have been horrified by the impact on the world’s seafarers. Travel restrictions have impacted on crew changes with a devastating impact on those involved with currently 400,000 across the globe stuck in ships with no relief.

It is well known that fatigue impacts on health and wellbeing as well as increasing the risks of maritime accidents. The impact on people is bad enough but the situation threatens the very foundation of world shipping and has the potential of disrupting global supply chains.

It is for this reason that I support the Crew Change for Christmas campaign, aimed at raising the profile of seafarers and trying to facilitate as many crew changes as possible Before the Christmas break.'
Admiral the Rt Hon Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC PC

'Covid-19 has cruelly kept families apart, but many seafarers have been separated from loved ones by thousands of miles for a year and more. Let’s get them safely home for Christmas.'
Liz Saville Roberts MP, Westminster Leader of Plaid Cymru

'I am troubled to hear that the pandemic has prevented crew changes across Seafarers, resulting some being stuck at sea for almost 18 months. Seafarers have played a vital role in keeping goods flowing into the country. It is simply unacceptable that there are thousands of hard working men and women stuck at ports around the world, the government must act to make sure they bring these workers home to their families before Christmas.'
Peter Dowd MP

'It is vital that those who have spent long continuous periods at sea over this time are allowed home to see their families and loved ones. It would be unconscionable if necessary crew changes were to be hindered by restrictions which prevented hard working crewmembers from enjoying some well-deserved respite at home on shore.

'I'm happy to support Nautilus International's campaign and to join calls for industry bosses to help bring seafarers home this month.'
Richard Thomson MP, SNP Westminster Spokesperson on Business and Industry

'Ships are the veins of the world: without them and the seafarers who operate them, life would be very different. The latter may be largely 'out of sight, out of mind' as far as the general public is concerned but we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for seamlessly keeping the wheels of trade turning.

In the current pandemic situation with the Government hosing money in all directions, is it too much to ask that the many stranded seafarers around the world be finally relieved and brought back for Christmas? After all there are many aircraft lying idle at the moment that would welcome a charter or two.'
Lord Greenway, Joint Chairman, Associate Parliamentary Ports & Maritime Group

'All through the global pandemic, essential goods and luxuries alike have been moving across the world keeping all of us supplied and jobs maintained. But almost unseen, some 400,000 crew members have become stranded on ships by the pandemic working long hours and without their families.

'At home, families will be missing their loved ones who have been away for many many months. Governments and the World Health Organisation should now work together urgently to create safe routes home for these trapped crew members'
Baroness Scott of Needham Market

'Throughout the Covid-19 crisis our global supply chains have continued to function. Our food has arrived into our towns, cities and villages. The same is true of the many other items we buy and use. The crews on the vessels that cross the oceans have made that possible. Yet many have become stranded, or kept from their homes and families for many months - all because of Covid-19 yet still ensuring our needs are supplied. We must allow them to be reunited with their families as we approach Christmas.'
Lord Teverson

'Together with my family I am deeply concerned about the plight of the many thousands of seafarers currently stranded in their ships. These are people who keep us alive by their contribution to world trade, not least the movement of food and other vital resources around the world. This is a completely unjust and unacceptable situation and I warmly endorse the support action Nautilus is taking to try to enable them to return home.'
Lord Judd

Case studies

'My children took it very hard. After 3 months they stopped talking to me because they found it very upsetting.'

'I was stuck at home for over 7 months with no salary. I had to borrow money from my family and sell personal belongings to survive.'

'My husband is currently at sea, having done twice his contract time. He is now suffering with anxiety and I am extremely worried about him. He has no option of getting help via telephone, decent nutritional meals, a care package or human contact.'

'As a Chief Engineer I had to deal with many human factors as the team members expressed their frustration, anger, worry, fears and upset. Instead of being onboard three months, it was almost seven.'

'After a long time at sea I had finally returned home. The time away and the stress it brought has resulted in my decision to not return to my previous job.'

'My contract was doubled, and my family in lockdown were in severe mental distress due to the isolation and lack of support. I am actively searching for roles ashore or with week on/week off rotations to ensure this never happens again.'

'Experience of early impact of Covid crisis was a contributing factor in my decision to retire this year.'

'I feel everyone's interest, concentration and productivity wanes noticeably after around the 3.5 to 4 month mark, so this concerns me a lot with regard to personal awareness and safety, standard of work and vessel upkeep.'

'My normal contract is ten weeks on and ten weeks off. I got stranded onboard for seven months before crew change happened.'

'As a Cadet, I've was not able to join ship at the end of college, delaying me finishing my cadetship by a minimum of 6 months.'

'My vessel was stuck alongside the UAE for four months. In the middle of the lockdown the management company in a money grabbing exercise forced contract changes on all crew and officers.'

'I feel demoralised but I have not lost hope that one day I will find a vessel. Lack of income has really affected my life after my mother had to spend all her savings to take me through nautical college.'

'Being a seafarer for 42 years does not prepare you for the mental stress of having a Covid susceptible partner completely isolated and alone for 5 months. I was expecting to be away for 8 weeks.'

Health and safety

Travel bans delay officers in Germany

  • News
  • 21 December 2020

Charterers 'aggravating' crew change crisis says IMO

  • News
  • 21 December 2020

Investment firm Fidelity backs global efforts to resolve crew change crisis

  • News
  • 21 December 2020

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