Frustration at the lack of progress with crew changes is spreading despite the best collaboration between ship owners and operators, unions and industry organisations in decades.

The main sticking points leading to seafarers working months in contract extensions since the coronavirus pandemic began remain seafarers’ home countries, ports and air travel being closed plus government bureaucracy over visa applications.

Some relaxation has occurred in the last three weeks, but shipmanagement group Anglo-Eastern Univan has only been able to repatriate 1,500 of the 16,000 seafarers it has on vessels, its chief executive Bjorn Hojgaard said at the London Capital Link forum on Tuesday.