Nautilus has urged the government to rethink its policy to refuse key worker seafarers from hotel quarantine when arriving from so-called red list countries.
'I am dismayed that the government has not followed its own policy of recognising the essential role that seafarers play in keeping supply chains open,' Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said.
'If the principle that seafarers are exempt from Covid-19 measures because they work in an essential service and because they work on ships, do not mingle with the general populations of high risk countries, and only travel under strict health and safety protocols to mitigate the health risks, I fear for what lies ahead.
'If more and more countries are added to the red list, the jobs and livelihoods of my members are at risk.
'We already know the Covid-19 financial support that the government provides does not extend to the majority of British seafarers.
'Seafarer's must not be left to carry the can for additional Covid measures, including the costs of any hotel quarantine. Their employers will have to pay, and no leave should be sacrificed either.'
Despite intense lobbying by the industry including by Nautilus, the government has refused so far to countenance the exclusion of UK resident seafarers despite being among the first countries in the world to recognise seafarers as key workers and to call on others to recognise their essential role in keeping maritime supply chains moving.
Scotland announced on February 11 it would also require a hotel quarantine for all travellers from 'acute list' (red list) countries.
The new measures in England require that, before any travel is undertaken, an online booking is made for a quarantine package costing £1,750 per person, which includes the hotel, food, transport, and testing for the ten-day isolation period.
The list of countries from which travel is currently banned include several where there are major offshore oil and gas projects which provide employment for significant numbers of the British maritime professionals. These include offshore Brazil, Namibia and Nigeria.
Seafarers respond to hotel quarantine
It's ludicrous. We are all stuck on ships with no interaction outside. Shoreside are a bigger risk of giving the virus to us then us them! They go home every night and see people, we are all stuck onboard.
This will put us all at additional risk. Now we're on a ‘green ship'. The most dangerous part of my/our trip will be the flight and now we must spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel with people who may have the virus!
How can they say we are key workers one minute and then the next pull this move!? You can be sure all the guys who go contract to contract in the offshore sector are going to get f****d over royally by this. Plus, I guarantee most of us who are fully employed will have to take a leave hit for this to work.
This is so counterproductive. This offers no benefit to the industry. We have been effectively self-isolating while on ship as no-one comes onboard and we cannot go ashore. When you sign off you go straight to the airport most the time. It's highly unlikely you will pick up Covid in the airport because everyone there should have a negative PCR test.
Gutting really. The UK government has f****d seafarers over. I have friends who have not had any work since March last year due to the state of the cruise industry and they cannot claim furlough as they were employed on a contract to contract bases. Not to mention companies taking on cadets then offering no jobs at the end and flooding the market.
That's absolutely awful. What a way to kick the industry while it's down. So what they're effectively doing is punishing seafarers who sign off in those countries for being able to work? How is that fair?
Can see why so many people are leaving the industry. Lots of guys I went to college with have lost out on work due to Covid and just aren't coming back as shore jobs are paying almost the same as deep sea jobs (as an engineer).