The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions to global supply chains as well as a crew change crisis in the shipping industry, as many countries closed their borders and put restrictions on international travel. The crisis inevitably had an impact on the deployment of seafarers. While the crisis itself received considerable coverage – at least in the maritime press - to generate a clear picture of this impact, however, large-scale and robust data is required. To this end, this article examines and compares how the crisis affected the deployment of Chinese, Indian, and Filipino seafarer officers up to the end of 2020, based in statistics published by the respective maritime authorities, namely the Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) in China, the Directorate General of Shipping (DG Shipping) in India, and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in the Philippines. The comparison will also shed light on the demand and supply of officers in all three countries and in the industry as a whole. This article focuses on seafarers deployed on ocean-going (international) ships only, as it was these vessels that were most affected by the crew change crisis.

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Plymouth Business School