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Friday, April 10, 2020 

The European Commission has issued guidance to its member states, calling on them, in coordination with the Commission, to designate ports around EU shores for fast-track crew changes, with adequate facilities for seafarers to undertake medical checks, quarantine if required by the country in question, and transport connections onward to their home country.

The move has been welcomed by the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

ECSA said it considers that this unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented reactions. For Europe to ensure the survival of its strategically important maritime industry, more concerted and targeted actions will be required. It therefore calls on all the European institutions to swiftly adopt a targeted rescue and recovery plan for the maritime sector.

Martin Dorsman, Secretary-General, said: "Our members will work closely with the national authorities, to see that the procedure set out in the guidelines are carried out, and we will certainly relay our feedback to the European level. On its side, ECSA will continue to cooperate with the EU institutions to make sure that there is a coordinated approach by all member states with regard to the implementation of the Commission's guidelines.”

Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General said: “We welcome the leadership provided by the European Commission in their call to EU member states to facilitate the essential movement of seafarers and marine personnel. Crew change is a massive problem for the entire shipping industry, in addition to ship operators based in Europe, and we hope that this quick response to our calls to the G20 for action globally will act as a catalyst for other nations, and that the G20, in conjunction with IMO, will quickly put in place pragmatic and coordinated arrangements to allow crew changes to take place. Seafarers are the unsung heroes keeping supply chains open. It is right that we support them as they quietly support all of us.”

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