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Djibouti Ready to Get Seafarers Stranded by Coronavirus Off Ships

Djibouti Ready to Get Seafarers Stranded by Coronavirus Off Ships

Friday, 3 July, 2020 - 11:15
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Port of Djibouti is seen in Ambouli, Djibouti April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

Djibouti has carried out the first crew change of merchant sailors in its territory and is ready to get home more seafarers who have been stranded by the coronavirus, a senior port official said.

Continued complications with changing over ship crews due to coronavirus restrictions in some jurisdictions is still affecting supply chains despite an easing of lockdown in many parts of the world.

Shipping industry officials say many are at breaking point, in a situation the United Nations has described as a "humanitarian crisis," Reuters reported.

The first crew change operation took place in recent days in Djibouti and involved 19 seafarers who had been at sea on a merchant ship for over a year.

Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of the government's Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, said the crew transfer - which included sailors replacing them who had arrived by air - took less than two days.

The country was ready for more changeovers, he noted.

"The main asset is not the ships, it's the people manning the ships," Hadi told Reuters this week.

"Any ship going through the strait of Bab al-Mandab we are prepared to welcome if they have a need for a crew change."

Djibouti is a critical transit hub with more than 2,500 ships transit and call at its ports ​annually.

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