Middle EastOperations

UAE makes crew change concessions

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is easing its crew change restrictions, much to the relief of thousands of seafarers across the world.

In a circular, the UAE’s Federal Transport Authority said the first stage of the lifting of restrictions would be aimed at seafarers with a resident visa, crew on laid up passenger ships, crew with medical issues and for those who need to leave on compassionate grounds.

The FTA will allow crew to leave so long as the signing off crew must be well for the last 14 days before leaving the ship and has not been in contact with a known or suspect case of Covid-19 in those 14 days. An airline ticket must also be shown.

The FTA said it was looking to get crew change operations back to normal as quick as possible.

Other important shipping centres that have made eased crew repatriation regulations in recent days include Hong Kong and Singapore.

On average, around 100,000 seafarers change ship every month, something that has ground to a halt over the last six weeks as the spread of coronavirus around the world has created unprecedented travel restrictions.

Maersk, the world’s largest containerline, told its seagoing staff over the weekend that all crew changes – which had been on hold through to mid-April – will now be postponed to May 12 at the earliest.

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.
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