Nautilus has urged all International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member States to follow new guidance on crew changes and repatriation during the Covid-10 pandemic.
The union, which represents 20,000 maritime professionals in the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland, welcomed the guidance on facilitating crew changes in ports and echoed IMO secretary general Kitack Lim's comments regarding the importance of remembering the seafarers on the front line.
'It is now incumbent on administrations to effectively implement this guidance as the UK have committed to doing,' Nautilus professional and technical officer David Appleton said.
The United Kingdom committed to facilitating the return of UK seafarers and repatriation of foreign seafarers on March 25.
The union urged particular attention be paid to procedures for joining crew. While the guidance refers to effective screening and protocols for seafarers embarking ships, the crew already onboard must also be protected.
Member States must do everything possible to ensure the availability of accurate testing kits and make seafarers among the high priority groups when these are distributed.
The list of recommendations for Governments and relevant national authorities published by IMO on 27 March includes measures to facilitate crew changes in ports, measures to ensure health protection in ports and measures to facilitate port (and related) operations. (Download the PDF) .
Nautilus members who are concerned or 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 Nautilus assistance and our coronavirus resource hub can be found on our Assistance page.