The continuing inability of ship operators to conduct crew changes has been the single greatest operational challenge confronting the global shipping industry since the Second World War.
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The arrival of COVID-19 has presented truly enormous challenges for the entire maritime transport sector, an industry responsible for moving about 90% of global trade.
In 2019, a new edition of the ICS Guidelines for Owners and Masters on Prevention of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse on board ships was published. It has already sold over 12,000 copies, demonstrating how seriously this matter is taken by shipping companies.
ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are calling for the immediate disembarkation of 27 rescued people trapped onboard a cargo ship. The distraught group, including one child and a pregnant woman, have now been onboard the Maersk Etienne for more than one month.
A significant part of ICS resources is dedicated to representing the global industry on a range of complex technical issues covered by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of IMO’s 174 Member States, and its numerous technical Sub Committees and Correspondence Groups.
Despite the lack of media attention due to COVID-19, the migrant rescue at sea crisis in the Mediterranean is far from over, with tens of thousands of migrants still attempting to make the dangerous sea crossing from Africa to Europe in overcrowded and unseaworthy craft.
Whilst the attention of the world has been diverted by COVID-19, piracy and armed attacks against ships’ crews remain a serious problem, requiring a concerted response by the international community at the highest level
As in all transport sectors, lives are sadly lost as a result of accidents at sea. Disappointingly, there has been a rise in fatal accidents in the last two years, although the loss of life in shipping is in fact relatively modest, and the overall trend is one of reduction in the number of fatalities, which is all the more impressive in view of the growth in the number of ships in the world fleet.
Relatively few ships actually sink at sea. The vast majority of the following "losses" simply refer to ships which are damaged and "written off" by the hull insurers as being beyond economical repair - described by underwriters as "total constructive losses".
The following are the major international shipping conventions, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (and the International Labour Organization) concerning safety and pollution prevention.