Six Chinese government units including Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Health Commission, General Administration of Customs, National Immigration Administration and Civil Aviation Administration of China, have jointly released a notice to further guide and facilitate Chinese crew changes at domestic ports as part of efforts to normalise the transport sector.
Under the new guidance, Chinese crews can sign on to ships at domestic ports after testing negative for coronavirus. Ports are asked to provide the necessary facilities for Chinese crews onboard foreign ships to sign off if they can provide a 14-day normal health record when arriving at Chinese ports.
Chinese embassies around the world have also been told to assist Chinese crew overseas to return home once their contracts are up.
Additionally, authorities have agreed to remove the 14-day quarantine procedure for ships operating on international-domestic combination routes so long as all crew test negative for coronavirus and promise not to disembark at domestic ports.
Yesterday Splash reported how another key Asian crewing destination, India, has been making rule changes to make crew changes easier for Indian crew leaving or signing on at local ports.
There has been increasing calls from all over the world to get governments to ease up on the crew transfer issue and help repatriate crews home.
Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has written to all IMO member states, urging them to recognise all seafarers as key workers, remove any barriers to their documentation and lift national travel restrictions so that they can get home on conclusion of their contracts, and rejoin their families.