The European Commission launched recommendations for all vessels concerning transit and disembarking passengers and crew, proposing that Member States should, in coordination among themselves, designate several ports in the Union for fast-track crew changes.
European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean stated that
The guidelines adopted today include sanitary advice, recommendations for crew changes, disembarking, and repatriation for seafarers and passengers. I am asking the member states to designate ports where fast-track crew changes take place.
In line with the Communication on the implementation of Green Lanes, seafarers should be allowed to cross borders and transit to take up their duties on board cargo vessels and return home after their contracts end. When Member States carry out health screenings, they should not significantly delay the seafarer from embarking or repatriating
Measures should be taken in EU ports to protect maritime transport personnel and port workers as well as seafarers and other persons on board while they embark and disembark.
Following, the European Commission proposed that Member States should, in coordination among themselves, designate several ports in the Union for fast-track crew changes. The ports should be geographically dispersed so as to cover the Union and should be connected to operational airports and rail stations. Member States should envisage the possibility of dedicated or regular flight and rail operations to ensure the transport connections for crew changes, allowing for swift travel and repatriations of seafarers.
In addition, the paper states that the designated ports should have nearby accommodation, where seafarers could wait for arrival of the ship they should board or for their flight, train or ship if it does not leave on the same day. This accommodation should have adequate facilities to allow them to shelter in place. This should enable undergoing 14 days of quarantine before embarking
and after disembarking if the Member State in question requires this and if testing is not available.
This decision has already been supported by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping commenting that
We welcome the leadership provided by the European Commission in their call to EU member states to facilitate the essential movement of seafarers and marine personnel … Crew change is a massive problem for the entire shipping industry, in addition to ship operators based in Europe, and we hope that this quick response to our calls to the G20 for action globally will act as a catalyst for other nations, and that the G20, in conjunction with IMO, will quickly put in place pragmatic and coordinated arrangements to allow crew changes to take place.
Learn more about EU’s paper, by clicking herebelow