New guidance from the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR) says that seafarers should be paid while in mandatory Covid-19 quarantine on joining or leaving a vessel.
This will have a particular impact on seafarers in the superyacht industry, as the majority of yachts sail under the Cayman Islands flag – which is part of the Red Ensign Group.
The principle is that seafarers should be paid while 'in the service of the ship', even if they are not onboard. There is a potential grey area as to whether this applies when a new employee is joining a vessel for the first time, but the register encourages employers to be generous:
- 3.3 Any 'mandatory quarantine' not in or at the seafarer's agreed place of repatriation on joining or leaving a ship should be considered as the seafarer still being in the service of the ship and therefore paid accordingly. For newly employed seafarers (i.e. not returning from leave), whether this applies prior to joining a vessel for the first time would be down to the contract, though the CISR strongly encourages owners and managers to give due regard to the current situation.
There is also an issue as to whether seafarers should be paid when the quarantine is not mandatory, and again the advice is to remember that self-isolation can benefit the business:
- 3.4 'Precautionary self-isolation' may not be considered as in the service of the ship and is at the discretion of the employer, though the CISR strongly encourages owners and managers to give due regard to the current situation and consider self-isolation as in the service of the ship.
Nautilus strategic organiser Rachel Lynch commented: 'Nautilus commends the register for producing clear guidance for seafarers working on Cayman Islands-flagged vessels. The guidance will be applicable to many of our members in the superyacht industry'.
- The full guidance appears in the guidance note Impact of Covid-19 on Operation of Cayman Islands Registered Ships.