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Danica: Each crew change costing up to $2,000 more amid COVID-19 impact

Individual crew changes are costing up to an additional $2,000, doubling the price since last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Danish-managed crewing specialist Danica said.

The additional costs stemming from the pandemic include items like hotel accommodation, airfares, PCR testing, and reimbursements for personal protective equipment.

“We found that on average it now costs almost $ 2,000 per crew movement. So, for one person joining and one returning home the cost is approximately $4,000, which is double on pre-pandemic prices,” Henrik Jensen, managing director of Danica Crewing Specialists, said.

 It would be prudent to set aside sufficient funds to enable crew changes to take place whenever possible

“It is of course very difficult to forecast every additional cost which will be faced in 2021 but it would be prudent to assume that this global situation will remain with us for many more months to come and to therefore set aside sufficient funds to enable crew changes to take place whenever possible.”

However, crew changes have gone from being a straightforward shipping activity to becoming a seriously complicated challenge,” he pointed out, noting that there is an ever-changing list of restrictions, medical tests, hotels, visas, and transit requirements to be met in order to facilitate crew travel.

Crew scheduling will not be normal until mid-2021 at the earliest.

Jensen estimates that crew scheduling will not return to normal until mid-2021 at the earliest.

“Due to Covid-19 and delays in repatriating seafarers, the entire crew planning system is destroyed and crew rotation patterns are all over the place. It will take a lot of time and effort by crew managers and ship owners, and need the assistance of the international community and governments, for the regular crew change system to be re-established,” he concluded.

It is estimated that some 400,000 seafarers are stuck at sea, months beyond their contracted time, with increasing reports of severe fatigue and mental distress.

A similar number of seafarers are trying to join ships to begin contracts, but transit to and from ships is being thwarted by travel restrictions and limitations imposed due to the pandemic.

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