Travel restrictions and border closure imposed by governments around the world due to the Coronavirus outbreak, have caused significant hurdles to crew changes and left many seafarers stranded onboard ships or unable to join ships.
According to the Federal Transport Authority-Land & Maritime(FTA), UAE decided to open crew changes in all its ports and waters, continuing maritime activities by applying safety measures, as a part of the procedures for the gradual return of maritime activities.
The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) said that the resumption of crew changes was allowed provided that the COVID-19 guidelines and requirements set by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) are properly observed and complied with. This is also in recognition of the efforts of seafarers and their vital role in globally securing supply chains.
Complying with the Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime (FTA) Circular No. (12) 2000, Port of Fujairah is opening for crew changes as well, provided the Port of Fujairah registered agents undertake and declare to take the following responsibilities:
- Bear the responsibilities to return the seafarer to his ship or provide a safe medical shelter if the COVID test was positive in accordance with the required instructions imposed by the health authorities in UAE.
- Bear the responsibilities of the seafarer from the moment he/she disembarks the vessel until he/she leaves the country or Vice versa.
- Carry out the PCR test for the seafarer disembarking his/her vessel.
- Ensure that the seafarer is transferred directly between the vessel and the airport or point of departure/arrival as far as reasonably practicable.
- Provide the seafarers with all COVID-19 pandemic relevant laws and precautionary measures followed in the UAE and the importance of adhering to them, in addition, he should provide them with the information related to the penalties imposed in case of violation, an acknowledgment from the seafarer to be documented.
All companies are urged to adhere to the guidelines and health rules enforced locally to maintain the health and safety of ship crew, visitors, and employees.