Amid the pandemic situation and the crew change crisis that has presented, AMSA officially announced that from 28 February 2021, the interim COVID-19 arrangements which have permitted seafarers to serve longer than 11 months onboard ships will end.
To remind, it was back in November 2020, when the Australian Maritime Authority first informed that will adopt such action to resolve crew change crisis.
According to AMSA:
“There has now been sufficient time for ship operators to adjust to the COVID-19 world and develop new plans for seafarer repatriation and crew changes”.
As the authority further explained, it has come at a personal cost to the seafarers who have spent longer on board ships, unable to take shore leave due to mandatory quarantine and separated from their friends and families.
Therefore, from 28 February 2021, temporary Marine Notice 10/2020 (supersedes 04/2020) which outlines AMSA’s approach to maximum service periods for seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be cancelled.
In fact, AMSA will revert back to the enforcement approach in the original Marine Notice 17/2016.
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For the record, under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 the maximum period that a seafarer can serve aboard a vessel without leave is 11 months.
Following the above, AMSA inspectors will verify compliance with Regulation 2.4, of the Maritime Labour Convention in an effort to ensure that seafarers serve no longer than 11 months continuously onboard a vessel.