Maersk’s controversial shore leave directives during the pandemic are likely to end up in court.
The Danish Maritime Authority wrote to the nation’s largest shipping line late last month, warning Maersk it had violated local regulations as well as the Maritime Labour Convention by banning all shore leave for crew on Danish-flagged ships in the wake of the detection of the first cases of the omicron variant of Covid-19. Maersk got away with just a warning and no fine. However, the Danish arm of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) intends to take the matter to a local labour court, seeking compensation.
The issue was first brought to light thanks to the intervention of the Danish officers’ union, Metal Maritime, forcing Maersk to withdraw its shore leave ban in the middle of last month.
As much of the world tries to get back to normal post-Covid life, shore leave is becoming more commonplace finally.
Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports, now allows shore leave for crews, effective from the start of this month, albeit proof of full vaccination and a negative antigen rapid test within the previous 48 hours are required.
The International Chamber of Shipping has just updated its advice for shore leave during the coronavirus pandemic, a document which contains information on the international maritime obligations surrounding the provision of shore leave by state authorities and shipowners, and for seafarers. It is available here.