A mandatory two-week quarantine period will be enforced from 8 June for the majority of arrivals in England, except for those countries now on a UK government-designated 'safe travel corridor' list. [A list of countries and territories from where you can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate. Different guidance applies to Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland]. However, seafarers, masters and pilots who have been repatriated to the UK, or travelled to the UK in the course of their work, are exempt. It should be noted that initially Scotland only applied this exemption to seafarers and pilots if they were required to take up work on arrival in Scotland but amended the law on 22 June to fall in line with the rest of the UK.
It should be noted that seafarers, masters and pilots must complete the required passenger information form (see below), even although they are exempt from having to quarantine under the UK border rules.
Seafarers and masters, maritime pilots, fishers and inspectors and surveyors of ships may be asked to produce one of the following:
- a Seafarers Identification Document (SID)
- their joining papers
- a seafarer's discharge book (Continuous Certificate of Discharge)
- a basic training certificate
- a deceleration from the registered owners of the vessel that they are a crew member.
The exemption from quarantine applies when a seafarer arrives in the UK to join a ship, leaves their ship in the UK to be repatriated or returns to the UK having been discharged from their ship overseas. Seafarers are still expected to comply with any restrictions that are in place in the country that they are residing including the requirement to self-isolate if they have coronavirus symptoms.
As of 8 June returning persons (including seafarers) have been required to complete a 'Public Health Passenger Locator Form' giving details of their journey to the UK Border Force, how they can be contacted and where they will be staying whilst in the UK. The form also enquires whether they are exempted from quarantining and requires them to state why this is the case.
The form is now live on the gov.uk website and can only be completed online.
There is tick a box to answer the question: Are you exempt from self-isolating for the first 14 days you are in the UK? If the 'yes' box is ticked, a further question appears: Why are you exempt from self-isolation? A short answer such as 'I am a seafarer' should suffice.
It is permitted to complete the form on behalf of another person, but an explanation must be given why this is being done, using a maximum of 500 characters. The form cannot be submitted until 48 hours before the person's arrival time in the UK.
The form must be completed whenever a seafarer is to set foot in the UK and pass through a Border Force checkpoint. A ferry worker who is on board for an extended period of time need not complete it on each occasion when the ferry is to dock in the UK. However, when they leave the ferry to return home, they will be required under current rules to complete it.
Failure to complete the form could result in a £100 fine.
In the online government guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): travellers exempt from border rules in the UK, seafarers are listed and defined under the section headed : Seamen and masters as defined in section 313(1) Merchant Shipping Act 1995, maritime pilots as defined in para 22(1) of schedule 3A of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, and inspectors and surveyors of ships appointed under section 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995
Seafarers need to complete the Public Health passenger locator form before travelling to the UK if travelling in a part of the vessel that is accessible to any passenger for any part of the journey, unless passengers remain in their vehicles in that area (for example on a roll-on, roll-off ferry).
You do not need to complete the Public Health passenger locator form if you travel in a part of the vessel that is not accessible to passengers or you travel on a vessel which does not carry passengers (e.g. fishing boats).
You will not need to self-isolate.
If you work on a ship, including fishermen, you should show a Seafarers Identification Document (SID) if you have one.
If you don't have a SID, you can show your joining papers, seafarers employment agreement or a seafarers discharge book (Continuous Certificate of Discharge) instead. Alternatively, you could show a basic training certificate or declaration from the registered owners of the vessel that you are a crew member.