Nautilus has welcomed news that Singapore has decided to adopt a more pragmatic approach to crew changes on cargo vessels after pressure by unions and the maritime industry.
Singapore, one of the world's busiest ports, shut its borders to seafarers and passengers on short term visits from 23 March and crew changes were banned.
Now Singapore is to allow crew changes under 'special circumstances' recognising seafarers play a critical role in the global supply chain.
Crew transfers will be allowed when seafarers have served the maximum time onboard and where the flag state will not grant any further extension of the contract; compassionate grounds; or when a crew member is no longer medically fit to work onboard the vessel.
Ship operators can submit crew transfer requests to the Maritime and Ports Authority (MPA) for consideration providing documentary evidence. These include a travel itinerary, proof the seafarer is fit to travel, and the crew member has been well for the last 14 days and not in contact with any Covid-19 known or suspected cases in that period.
International officer Danny McGowan commented: 'It is good to see governments and other authorities working together with trade unions to develop sensible and pragmatic approaches to this issue. We hope that governments around the world will ensure that seafarers can continue to keep the global supply chain moving by allowing them to crew change whenever possible.'
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.