Industry Groups Advocate for Offshore Workers

Industry Groups Advocate for Offshore Workers
Offshore workers deserve same designation as seafarers and marine personnel, ICMA and others argue.

An organization representing offshore marine contractors and the associated industry supply chain in more than 60 countries reported Thursday that it is lobbying the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ease the movement of offshore energy sector personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a written statement emailed to Rigzone, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) stated that it is part of an industry group urging the IMO to support a recommendation for governments and national authorities to ensure that offshore energy personnel are considered “key workers” alongside seafarers and marine personnel. ICMA explained the designation would enable ease of movement during mobilization and demobilization for offshore sector crew changes.

“While seafarers and marine personnel have been able to reference the ‘Recommendations’ (to governments and national authorities), which IMO had previously issued, they are not, unfortunately, applicable for offshore energy sector personnel, such as Industrial Personnel (a term covering everyone from divers to windfarm engineers, geodata specialists and drilling crew to HSE advisors, and more) who do not fall within the definition of either ‘seafarer’ or ‘marine personnel,’” commented Margaret Fitzgerald, ICMA’s head of policy and regulatory affairs.

IMCA noted that it is partnering in the IMO advocacy effort with the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC), International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) and the International Support Vessel Owners Association (ISOA).

“Working together we impressed upon the IMO’s Secretary-General that the continued delivery of an unabated supply of these energy resources rests with the ability of the global offshore energy workforce to continue to carry out its function despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” continued Fitzgerald. “We are delighted that the Secretary-General has now published the Recommendations presented by the five international trade associations.”

IMCA added that it is has been working with an industry group led by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) to develop a 12-step plan outlining recommendations tied to ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic.

“One of the key recommendations in the document calls upon IMO Member Governments and national authorities to give serious consideration to exempting these key workers ‘from any isolation or quarantine measures that might be applicable to other passengers arriving by aircraft from other countries,’” Fitzgerald explained.

IMO has published that document as well, IMCA stated.

“In view of the importance of the global offshore energy sector in meeting the world’s energy demands, both IMO documents are intended to assist members when negotiating movement of their personnel across borders,” concluded Fitzgerald. “Members are urged to report to the IMCA Secretariat any issues they experience to enable IMCA to raise this at the highest level within IMO Member Governments.”

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