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EU urged to ease crew changes during coronavirus pandemic

14 April 2020

Maritime unions and shipowners have called on European governments to act together to facilitate crew changes during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA) have requested a 'concrete proposal is put forth to the Transport Council for political agreement regarding designated ports for crew disembarkation and crew changes'.

The ETF and ECSA also called for the 'expeditious repatriation of European seafarers who are currently stranded in third countries or on vessels that have been unable to obtain permission to dock'.

They called on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to help in the repatriation of these seafarers, as well as third country seafarers stranded in the EU due to closure of the borders of their home countries.

The demands are the latest in an ongoing campaign calling upon EU institutions and Member States to support the industry and its workforce with the current challenges they are facing.

The measures being taken by Member States to restrict the movement of people and close their borders are having serious consequences for the movement of the essential workforce in the shipping industry.

The organisations welcomed the Commission's 8 April 2020 'Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships'.

The guidelines broadened the definition of the term 'maritime workers' to exempt from travel bans not just maritime transport workers essential for the haulage of goods but a broader group of employees working at sea and on board ships in the operation and maintenance of essential infrastructure and supply chains.

Nautilus members who are experiencing difficulties related to the coronavirus outbreak are advised to contact their industrial organiser for assistance. In an emergency members can also contact the Nautilus 24/7 helpline.

More help and our coronavirus resource hub can be found on our Assistance page.


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