Accordingly, in a letter sent to the South China Morning Post, they highlighted that "A few rotten apples have brought disrepute to their peers and the industry, which has been working hard to ensure the smooth operation of the world’s supply chain for essential items such as food, fuel and medical supplies, during this most difficult time."

The letter expressed their disappointment on crew changes, adding that they have urged international and local unions to remind their members to strictly follow all rules, protocols and precautionary measures set by port authorities and shipping companies to protect public health. "We have also suggested the government impose penalties on any parties who break the rules."

To remind, in July Hong Kong stated that all signing-on sea crew members arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) must have a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at their last place of embarkation within 48 hours prior to their time of departure from the place of embarkation.

Moreover, the letter noted that the associations had advised their members to take additional precautions when unrestricted crew change was allowed from 9 June, including all seafarers to have a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in Hong Kong.

The letter concluded that: "Once again, we would like to stress that like other ‘key workers’, seafarers are essential for the global community to fight this battle against the virus. Without these heroes at sea, world trade would come to a halt. If any of them are unfortunately infected, they deserve our support, not bias."