31 DEC 2020
2020 was a year for the record books, and it was challenging for every sector of the maritime industry. The most popular news stories of this year show readers’ close attention to the particularly severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cruise industry, as onboard outbreaks, port closures and the U.S. CDC “no-sail order” resulted in a near-total shutdown for cruising – a shutdown that is still in place today (with limited exceptions).
The crew change crisis also drew close scrutiny: as port state measures and shifting travel restrictions wore on, hundreds of thousands of seafarers found themselves stuck on board well past the end of their contracts. An estimated 400,000 are still awaiting crew change, including thousands who have passed the 11-month service limit of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC).
COVID-19 was not the only cause of tragedy in the industry in 2020. The deadly explosion in Beirut on August 4 killed more than 200 people and left thousands more homeless. Unlike the coronavirus, all evidence suggests that the explosion was preventable, and an investigation into the circumstances is still under way.
The top ten articles of 2020 were:
1) Report: Welders Set Off Beirut Blast While Securing Explosive Cargo
2) Venezuelan Navy Patrol Ship Sinks After Collision With Cruise Ship
3) Merchant Bulker Rescues Four from Sailboat in Mid-Atlantic
4) Canada Creates New Visa Procedures to Facilitate Crew Changes
5) Former P&O Cruise Ship Slated to Become Floating Community off Panama
6) Cruise Industry Downsizing Begins With First Sale of a Ship for Scrap
7) Sovereign, the World’s First Mega Cruise Ship, Arrives at Scrapyard
8) Watch: The Bottom of an Antarctic Glacier
9) First Confirmed COVID-19 Cases on a Container Ship