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SEAFARERS' UNION URGES SOLUTIONS TO CREW CHANGE RESTRICTIONS

Thursday, April 9, 2020  (Comments: 1)

Maritime professionalsí Union Nautilus International is calling on governments and the shipping industry to look for immediate solutions for crew changes as countries begin extending the coronavirus lockdown.

More than a third of the world population is under some form of restriction, with the Netherlands recently extending its restrictions to the end of April and many other countries set to review lockdowns in the next few weeks.

To cope with the restrictions, particularly those which have halted crew changes, many seafarers have had their current trips extended, or been placed in quarantine before being repatriated. Due to the rapidly changing circumstances in the last two weeks, these restrictions have often been introduced with little or no notice.

Many members have contacted Nautilus for support and advice during quarantine or to highlight their extended trips, which some members have been extended by several months.

General secretary Mark Dickinson said: “Retaining the current crew onboard and cancelling crew changes is a short-term solution to the current crisis. As the restrictions look set to continue for at least the next six weeks the time has come for decisive action. Extending tour lengths further should not be a decision taken lightly and must not be done simply because the alternatives are thought to be too difficult. Those crew who have had their trips extended will be increasingly frustrated and fatigued. Unless action is taken soon to allow seafarers to sign off there will inevitably be an increase in accidents. Where can crew changes happen? What measures need to be put in place to facilitate repatriation? Who will organise it, what will it cost and who will pay? We need answers to these questions urgently. Governments need to support the industry to get seafarers moving again and they need to do it now.”

Reader Comments (1)

Seems like the companies are very happy to keep people on board, they are saving millions by not having to pay for flights and accommodation. I'm currently stuck in board 1 month over my contact along with many others and looks like we will be here for a long time to come. Even if we go to a country where its possible to sign off there are no flights available to get us home. Meanwhile our colleagues stuck at home are running out of money to support their families because they can't join ship. Neither the government nor the company has done anything so far to help us. Only continually extending contracts while imposing increasingly harsh restrictions. The seamans life isn't an easy one during normal conditions but with the current circumstances its exceptionally hard for us and our families. I hope someone will make a decision soon to resolve this problem.

By GM on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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