THE GLOBAL crew change situation may be stabilising despite obstacles such as tight restrictions in Japan and a shortage of Russian and Ukrainian seafarers.

The latest figures from the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator suggest the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contracts has decreased slightly from 4.5% in May to 4.3% this month.

The number of seafarers still onboard vessels for longer than 11 months has reportedly remained stable at 0.3%.

According to the Global Maritime Forum, which publishes the data each month, participating ship managers are reporting both positive and negative crew change developments.

On the upside, the number of infected seafarers onboard vessels has seemingly declined, and crew change restrictions are easing in countries such as China, which had imposed quarantine measures during a recent COVID-19 outbreak.

However, strict COVID controls are reportedly still in place in Japan, and a shortage of Russian and Ukrainian seafarers has been reported due to the Ukraine conflict and consequential sanctions.


As suggested in last month’s crew change indicator, complications caused by major global events are not typically reflected in the number of seafarers remaining onboard beyond their contract expiries or the 11-month maximum contractual period.

“The June Neptune Indicator reinforces the stabilisation trend of the first half of 2022 and still records positive progress on vaccines,” Global Maritime Forum managing director Kasper Søgaard said.

“Global challenges and country restrictions continue to complicate some crew changes, but the overall picture points towards a return to a more normal situation.”

The crew change indicator also reported a 2.6% increase in seafarer vaccinations, from 83.6% last month to 86.2% in June.

Ship managers reported some difficulties vaccinating seafarers while onboard, however they are investigating the provision of vaccine once seafarers are in their home countries.

Complications relating to the vaccination of Russian and Ukrainian seafarers persist, and there are still concerns about the risk of infection onboard and access to booster shots.

Ship managers providing data to the Global Maritime Forum include Anglo- Eastern, Bernhard Schulte, Columbia Shipmanagement, Fleet Management, OSM, Synergy Marine, Thome, V.Group, Wallem Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management

The companies collectively have about 100,000 seafarers currently onboard.