The September Crew Change Indicator shows that the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has slightly decreased from 9.0% to 8.9% in the last month.

To remind, the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator is published monthly to provide reliable data regarding the crew change crisis and the way it evolves. It is based on data from 10 ship managers, who are collectively responsible for more than 90,000 seafarers across all the major segments.

The number of seafarers onboard for over 11 months has similarly slightly decreased from 1.3% to 1.2%. After a significant deterioration of the situation since May, the August and September Indicators point to a stabilization of the situation.

What is more, the Indicator shows that 21.9% of seafarers from the sample have been vaccinated. This corresponds to an increase of 6.6 percentage points since August.


Queensland will become the first Australian jurisdiction to administer COVID vaccines to all international seafarers arriving in local ports.

Under a trial program commencing in the coming weeks, Australia aims at reducing the risk of serious illness and community transmission.

According to local media sources, Maritime Safety Queensland and QLD Health developed a vaccination program that will commence with high risk vessels, ships that visit Australian ports on a regular schedule, those that carry liquid fuels, and finally all other vessels arriving at QLD ports.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation, along with employer organisations including Maritime Industry Australia Ltd and Shipping Australia, have welcomed the initiative that will not only protect the health of seafarers, but strengthen Australia’s supply chains.


uss connecticut
USS Connecticut at Bremerton, Washington, May 2021 (USN)



One of the most sophisticated submarines in the world, the USS Connecticut, sustained an underwater collision five days ago at an undisclosed position in the South China Sea, according to USNI News and other sources. At least 11 crewmembers sustained minor cuts, scrapes and bruises in the incident, and Navy Times reports that Connecticut has had to transit on the surface due to damage.

“USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region,” Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News. “There are no life-threatening injuries. The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed.”



Information Fusion Centre (IFC) released its latest infographic, providing an overview of incidents against ships in the Singapore Strait as of 5 October 2021.

According to the inforgraphic below, there are a total of 2 incidents that happened in the month of September, which occurred in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Singapore Strait.

Of note, in one incident, perpetrator reportedly carried a gun-like object.


Royal Navy’s HMS Trent is bound for the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, as it heads for security patrols and a mission to support allies in West Africa.

HMS Trent is now turning its attentions south to the tropical waters of the Gulf of Guinea for the next three months as it becomes the first Royal Navy ship to sail to the region in three years.

With Royal Marines of 42 Commando on board, the ship will carry out a range of joint exercises and training to strengthen ties and develop plans for future operations in the region.

Trent will visit Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia and Cape Verde, and will take part in French-led multinational exercises that will bring together international partners in the area, known as Exercise Grand African Nemo.


Currently, there are about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their regular stints of typically 3-9 months, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). Many of them do not even have a day’s break on land, while another 100,000 are stuck on shore, unable to board the ships. This year’s World Maritime Day focuses on the struggles that seafarers face today and provides a message of support.

For a better glimpse into this dire situation, during summer almost 9% of merchant sailors were stuck aboard their ships beyond their contracts’ expiry, according to data compiled by the Global Maritime Forum non-profit group from 10 ship managers together responsible for over 90,000 seafarers. The maximum allowed contract length is 11 months, as stipulated by a U.N. seafaring convention.

This crew change crisis derives from restrictions imposed by major maritime nations across Asia, such as South Korea, Taiwan and China, which host many of the world’s busiest container ports. More specifically, in these countries, requirements range from mandatory testing for crews who come from or have visited certain countries, to outright bans on crew changes and berthing operations.


Nautilus International is urging the UK government to waive certain medical patents to ensure greater access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide, particularly in the global south.

Namely, in a letter addressed to prime minister Boris Johnson and maritime minister Robert Courts, Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson calls on the UK to back a waiver of the usual patent rights offered under the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS agreement, in order to help increase manufacturing and access to Covid vaccines around the world.

Studies from the UK, Southeast Asia and Latin America have also shown that workers transporting people and goods are at a heightened risk of contracting serious Covid infections and are much more likely to die.

Moreover, the pandemic has had a serious impact on the welfare of key transport workers travelling across international borders. At the start of the year, for example, around 400,000 seafarers were stranded on ships, working long past the end of their contracts and unable to be repatriated.


The CEO of Liverpool Seafarers Centre has called on the shipping industry to make COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for seafarers.

At present, the shipping companies and crewing agencies who supply workers to their vessels recommend that crew members be vaccinated, but vaccinations are not mandatory.

John Wilson of the LSC says the welfare of seafarers must come first. “If you have been vaccinated, the likelihood of serious illness or death is limited. It’s not eroded completely, but the chances of you dying or having to be hospitalised are reduced greatly, as is the case for everyone,” he said. “It is a sensible way forward”.

“The underlying message at the moment is that if you’re not vaccinated, you will not be employed, but they haven’t made it mandatory. However I believe it is going to become mandatory from a continuation of employment point of view.”


The State of California and the Port of Los Angeles are providing $12 million in funding to AltaSea, a nonprofit corporation, to fund the construction of a new blue economy ocean research and development centre.

Berth 58 – the site of the initial 60,000 square feet of the planned 180,000 feet of the Center of Innovation at AltaSea – will be the first fully renovated structure on AltaSea’s 35-acre campus at the Port of Los Angeles.

The centre will house ocean-focused businesses specialising in sustainable aquaculture, offshore renewable energy, and underwater robotics. Construction is expected to commence by mid-2022 and be completed in the first half of 2023.

AltaSea’s signed anchor tenants include the University of Southern California, the Southern California Marine Institute (made up of 23 universities, colleges, and institutes), Braid Theory, Holdfast Aquaculture, Montauk Technologies, and Pacific Mariculture.

Also among the tenants is the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and the research vessel Nautilus, which docks at AltaSea. OET has plans to build a 10,000 square foot interactive research and educational centre at AltaSea.

“AltaSea’s focus on the rapid growth of the blue economy adds a new dimension to our pursuit of sustainable solutions and expands the diversity of jobs across our port ecosystem,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka.

“The blue economy will not only provide workers with pathways to sustain and grow their professional and personal lives, but these jobs will allow them to be a crucial part of the solution to some of the world’s most challenging issues, including climate change.”


$12m in funding for LA ocean research and development centre

A remotely operated harbour tug developed by Keppel Offshore & Marine has become the first such vessel in the world to receive the Remote Control Navigation Notation from class society ABS.

A trial of the 65-metre tug, controlled from a remote location at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Maritime Innovation Lab, was successfully performed in April 2021. The second phase of the project, scheduled for late 2021, will see the vessel perform autonomous collision avoidance tasks while under remote supervision. The Maju 510 tug is owned and operated by Keppel O&M’s joint-venture company Keppel Smit Towage.

“As the overall system integrator, Keppel O&M is able to provide technology solutions and integrate best-in-class systems to offer customisable remote and autonomous functions for vessels,” said Tan Leong Peng, Managing Director (New Builds), Keppel O&M.

“With the offshore and marine sector evolving rapidly, we are leveraging our engineering expertise and harnessing advanced technologies to stay at the forefront of the industry. In line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, we are also collaborating with the Keppel ecosystem of companies, such as M1 with its connectivity solutions, to enhance our value add.”

ABS recently published its Guide for Autonomous and Remote-Control Functions, which introduced the REMOTE-CON notation and another recognising autonomous functions. The Guide sets out a goal-based framework for the implementation of these technologies on vessels and offshore units.

The Guide’s goal-based framework also covers interactions with relevant stakeholders such as port authorities and other vessels, using a risk-based approach to determine the requirements for the assessment and implementation of autonomous and remote-control functions.


Keppel O&M tug granted remote control notation