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Crew change, and Covid restrictions linger for seafarers

Crew change, and Covid restrictions linger for seafarers
Marcus Hand | May 30, 2022

Seafarers continue to face serious challenges with crew change and vaccination requirements warns industry body Intercargo.

As the global economy opens up as the Covid pandemic subsides the crew change crisis has largely dropped from the headlines, however, many challenges remain as some countries struggle with Omicron waves.

“Seafarers worldwide continue to face major issues with crew change, port entry and changing vaccination requirements,” said Dimitrios Fafalios, Chairman of Intercargo.

“New waves of infection continue to affect ports, and once again we are seeing local authorities creating their own interpretation of the rules.

“This is happening today at ports around the world, and governments and administrations seem not to have learned the lessons of the past two years, as they move to a post-Covid agenda.”

Chinese crew change has remained a challenge throughout the pandemic with extremely strict rules for returning seafarers and this has been further complicated by lockdowns in major ports against Omicron.

Intercargo says that in number of ports globally seafarers continue to find shore leave restricted and difficulties in accessing emergency medical care, a recurring and potentially life-threatening issue during the pandemic.

The trade association is concerned that the war in Ukraine has seen issues related to seafarers and Covid dropping off the maritime agenda.

Fafalios stated: “The situation is ongoing and requires pan industry commitment. Our efforts to highlight the plight of the seafarer must not stop, and the industry must never consider what is happening to seafarers today in any way normal.”