The European Commission (EC) is making moves to alleviate the crew change crunch brought about by travel restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.
It has also called on member states to create a network of ports where crew changes can take place without delays, and issued guidelines on providing crew with recommendations on health, repatriation, and travel arrangements.
“Seafarers are keeping the vital channels for our economy and supply chains open,” says Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport.
“Our new guidelines include sanitary advice, recommendations for crew changes, disembarking, and repatriation for seafarers and passengers.
“I am asking all EU member states to designate ports where fast-track crew changes take place.”
EU member states currently have different rules on crew changes in their ports.
To ensure clarity for all involved, member states have been told by Brussels to follow the commission’s guidance on facilitating transit arrangements and the guidance on the implementation of green lanes.
For non-EU nationals who need visas to disembark within the EU and who could not apply for them due to the current situation, member states have been urged to grant these at the border so that they may be quickly repatriated.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed the guidance issued by the EC.
“Crew change is a massive problem for the entire shipping industry," says Guy Platten, ICS secretary general.
“Seafarers are the unsung heroes keeping supply chains open. It is right that we support them as they quietly support all of us.”