Middle EastOperations

UAE opens crew changes across all seven emirates

The Federal Transport Authority in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday issued a circular opening crew changes to all ports across the nation’s seven emirates. Whereas previously crew change had been possible in Dubai, the new ruling opens up the movement of seafarers at other important hubs such as Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Khorfakkan.  

Seafarers must adhere to public health requirements and precautionary measures in the UAE. Pre-registration of crew members’ itinerary to join ships or return home is mandatory as is a maritime declaration of health and a pledge by the captain of the ship regarding the absence of any contagious diseases.

A designated person is required in every port and dry dock facility to follow up on all issues related to the prevention of Covid-19 pandemic and submit an internal daily report.

For those signing on and off, they will need a 96-hour seafarer entry visa.

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. If “itinerary” means a ticket to fly, forget it, there is no “crew change”. Shipmanagers do not organize, do not pay airline tickets.

  2. Just an idea for other countries especially fareast hubs. Placed a passenger ship with accommodation facility only in port or inner anchorage. All joiners & off signers to be placed on that ship directly to & from airport with minimal contact to locals. Upon arrival of crew change vessel transfer crew from that vessel only. Crew can be signed up to passenger vessel to satisfy the local authorities & than transferred to actual vessel. Its win win situation for everyone. The passenger ship owner will also make money. Even the positive crew can be quarantined on that ship on isolated deck. For crew change the ships don’t have to wait for flight etc.

  3. Good day All, it is kindly bring in knowledge of all of you that visa for Pakistani seafarers is temporarily suspended by Dubai Govt. from last few days same was informed by agent Sharaf Shipping.
    Kindly request to bring this matter in knowledge of higher authorities of Pakistan and UAE Govt. and solve the issues.
    We all seafarers to be consider as human as we are working onboard from long time and like forgotten by all countries as we are the one who are keeping supplies during this pandemic.

    Warm regards,
    Capt. Sajjad.

  4. This is a real situation that nobody stands to benefit but it looks like the managers lack the understanding of the gravity of the situation and playing politics with the livelihood of the broad mass of the seafarers always issuing statements of principles pushing the real situation to the background I share the sentiment of my colleagues that there is way out of this by adopting ship to ship crew change with examption once all protocols are being observed we are in hard times
    Best regards ETO Adams

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