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The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator

The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator provides reliable data regarding crew change issues and is based on data from ship managers, who are collectively responsible for more than 100,000 seafarers across all the major segments. The Neptune Indicator has been published monthly since May 2021, but as of July 2022, has converted into a quarterly indicator.

The indicator for the last quarter of 2022 shows that the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has decreased from 3.3% to 2.7% since October. The number of seafarers onboard vessels for over 11 months has also decreased slightly from 0.3% to 0.2%. The Crew Change Indicator shows that the aggregate percentage of seafarers from the sample who have been
vaccinated has risen from 92.8% to 95.6% in the past quarter, which is an increase of 2.7 percentage points since October 2022.

Section 1: Overdue Crew Changes

As part of their reporting, the contributing ship managers have also highlighted the following key developments that have impacted crew changes in the past quarter.
• Ship managers describe the recent ease of restrictions in China as equally positive and concerning, and report monitoring the situation closely over the coming weeks and months
• A recent spike in Covid-19 cases raise concern, as it creates conditions for new variants to develop
• It remains somewhat unclear how aligned different local governments in China are with the new instructions from the central government. Crew changes must therefore still be carefully reviewed by local agents to ensure compliance
• Following the development in China, ship managers report that a negative RT-PCR test conducted 72 hours prior to departure is now required for all travelers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand when entering India.
• Similarly, Japan requires all travelers coming out of China within the last 7 days to be tested on arrival. If tested positive, seafarers are quarantined for 7 days.

Section 2: Seafarer Vaccinations
The Neptune Declaration Indicator provides the aggregated percentage of seafarers from the sample who have been vaccinated and provides an overview of seafarer vaccination trends, as well as the pace at which these increase month by month. The Crew Change Indicator from the fourth quarter of 2022 shows that 95.6% of seafarers from the sample have been vaccinated. This corresponds to an increase of 2.7 percentage points since October.

The data reflects the situation on the 15th day of the preceding month. *Quarterly data reflects the situation on the last day of the preceding month. **The vaccination data for Q4 of 2022 includes data from 9 out of 10 ship managers

Seafarer vaccination rates are at 95.6%, while in comparison the share of the population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the European Union is 75.5%2, in Hong Kong 90.7%, in Japan 83.3%, in Singapore 90.8% and in the United States 69.1%.3 4 Seafarer vaccination rates thus remain higher than the share of the population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in many large shipping nations.5 It must be noted however, that national percentages are based on the full population  and include children, who in most countries are not offered vaccines so the numbers are not fully comparable. Additionally, the contributing ship managers have highlighted the following difficulties in vaccinating seafarers:

• Vaccinations are widely accessible and seafarers are getting vaccinated.
• Some ship managers report that they are increasingly opting to replace unvaccinated crew members onboard with vaccinated seafarers through normal crew changes. This allows for seafarers to be vaccinated while onshore.
• Some companies are no longer recommending their seafarers to renew or boost “expired” vaccinations, seemingly because of lack of effectiveness in existing vaccines. Instead, they recommend using updated vaccines going forward, in case new and more dangerous variants emerge.
Source: The Global Maritime Forum

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