The world’s largest container line has suspended crew changes for all of its operated ships amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an emailed statement, A.P. Moller–Maersk said crew changes will be suspended for four weeks effective immediately until April 14, 2020.
At the end of 2019, Maersk’s fleet consisted of 307 owned and 401 chartered ships with a nominal TEU capacity of more than 4.1 million TEUs.
“With the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extraordinarily fast-paced closing of borders and cancellations of airline services, today (17 March 2020) we have decided to suspend all crew changes for Maersk operated container vessels effective immediately and for four weeks until 14th April 2020. The decision is based on the need to keep our crew safe while maintaining operations as normal as possible.
“Keeping our people safe is paramount to A.P. Moller – Maersk and given the current situation we can better protect our seafarers by suspending the exchange of crew, as this lessens the number of social interactions they need to have. Secondly, the rapid changes to global travel poses a risk of stranding seafarers in transit, in locations from where they are unable to leave or get sufficient assistance.
“Maersk has been in contact with all relevant authorities and organizations and will closely coordinate on any legal or compliance matters to resolve these while ensuring continued safe operation of our fleet,” Maersk’s said.