Middle EastOperations

Dubai opens for crew changes

Dubai has finally come good on the crew change issue. A circular from Dubai Maritime City Authority issued yesterday and seen by Splash shows that crew change in Dubai ports and anchorages is now possible subject to compliance with the Dubai Health Authority Covid-19 guidelines and scheduled flights in the UAE.

A further federal announcement relating to the whole of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is due soon, sources related to the matter tell Splash.

The UAE was one of the signatories to last week’s UK-convened international summit on crew change. The nation had faced criticism for its slowness to allow crew movement. Dubai has opened its airport to all tourists as of a week ago.

The Dubai news means there are now two very well connected hubs in the Middle East allowing crew changes with Doha in Qatar the early frontrunner.

In total, last week’s crew change summit saw 13 nations pledge to come to the aid of stranded crew around the world.

The Dubai news is shaded by developments further east. In Hong Kong, which had opened its waters and airport to crew changes, the territory has reined back its seafarer access this week as coronavirus cases have jumped in the former British colony.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. I dont know what will gonna happen…may Allah Almightyhelp our seafarers to get home soon.. nobody can understand our pain only we ourself facing dufficulties

  2. 13:00 15th July 2020
    No seaman visa available… fake news, not open for business at all in Dubai
    Hong Kong continues to operate crew changes without delays … you need a COVID test, that’s not a roll back, that’s common sense.

  3. My father has pass away in last month… But still I cannot go home.. Please do something to go home… I’m now 8 month.. In fujarah omti oil supply ships

  4. Not true at all. They are only accepting Seaman Visa for Signed Off Crew. They are not accepting Seaman Visa for Signed On Crew. What’s the point? How can the Crew Signed Off after being stranded on board various Vessels in UAE or calling in UAE if nobody can Signed On to relieve them?

    Crew change is a two way traffic. Signing On Crew need to embarked on board so that Signing Off Crew can disembarked.

    No real Crew Change is taking place in Dubai as was reported in the news because they are not accepting yet Seaman Visa Application for Signing On crew.

    Hope UAE will be true to their words and allow two way traffic to effect real Crew Change.

  5. Fake news! Immigration is not issuing seaman visa at all. This news is on papers only………. Local agents in Khorfakan, Fujairah and Dubai are saying that immigration has not opened any visa for seafarers.

  6. UAE needs the merchandise that we bring to them but do not respect the work of those who make this possible.

  7. Why use the words ‘Former British Colony’ ?
    I don’t the purpose of calling any country this way.

  8. What is the latest news now about the sign on sign off visa now in korfakan?please update?

  9. Dubai open for crew change??…. Only for offsigners!… Onsigner Visa is put on hold…. How to sign off if relievers can’t join!!! They need to get their game together!. We have crew stuck here onboard for over 12months!.. They need to allow onsigner to join. Tourist can enter Dubai…. why can’t Seamans (onsigners) enter Dubai????!!

  10. Dubai is a big joke for crew change. if u are really worried about seafarers the job would have been done. not to complain only dubai but company should also take necessary action. they care cargo more than humans life. please stop cargo to dubai and that would make sense.
    as mentioned above crew change only for off signers not for on signers.

    1. your are absolutely right capt. your comments are well appreciated and we will take action. meanwhile sanitize and be covid free.

  11. My husband is in ship in fujeraih for almost 10 months.I m not keeping well for last 2 months.My kids nee him.please Dubai allow crew change in real and not on papers only Tou can conduct ipl matches…allow tourists but not allow seafarer to go home.Their family needs them.They need to go home.

  12. Please can somebody tell when is dubai going to open for visas for on signers

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