Doubts are being raised over whether the sale-and-purchase market can continue to operate smoothly as crew and shipowner inspectors find it increasingly difficult to get to vessels.

A number of deals have been concluded, suggesting that buyers and sellers have been able to find a way to make deals work.

But, in the most recent case that has raised alarm, the proposed sale of K Line's 79,514-cbm gas carrier Grace River (built 2003) to India’s Bashundhara LP Gas has apparently failed because the crew exchange was not allowed to happen.