The International Maritime Organization (IMO), together with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) urge governments to take more flexible steps fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic and to support healthcare workers and seafarers in these challenging times.
With respect to crew members faced fatigue and stress for extra months aboard during the pandemic, a number of countries on the world stage have already reacted and facilitated some customs procedures for ‘key’s workers’. There are several main points of seafarers’ embarkation and disembarkation.
Even facing the global spread of coronavirus (today the United States is the epicenter of this disease), many airports of the country are open for crew changes. All visitors need an American visa to cross the border as before. If a seaman does not have any symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolation is not necessary.
On April, 28, the seafarers were called “key workers”, who may cross Spain’s borders and move through Spanish territory. If requested, they need to show a Certificate of competency or proficiency or Seafarers’ identity document or Discharge book; Employment agreement or Letter of appointment.
On April 23, the German government allowed crew change in sea ports, unless they are with respiratory symptoms or feeling unwell. If they are OK, seamen have been granted permission to enter the country and join the vessel or to leave the country, following the rules.
The United Kingdom
UK is one of the countries that freely allowed crew changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Making crew change, a seaman must have a Guarantee letter from his agent prior to arrival. No need a visa for boarding.
This country is landlocked, but Minsk National Airport became known as one of the largest transit points for crew changing. For example, the Ukrainians and Russians can get to Minsk, and then reach home by land.
Arriving at Hong Kong International Airport, every seafarer must undergo a medical examination. If there’re no symptoms, he or she can exempt from quarantine 14 days at Hong Kong. Crews may sign-off only with valid Passport / Seaman’s Book.