COVID-19: Global ports rules charted in new UK P&I Club guide

The UK P&I Club has launched a comprehensive manual outlining current challenges and issues regarding crew changes in ports throughout the world.

Global Crew Change Advice is a unique A-Z of global ports which the organisation put together with the help of over of its wide-reaching global network.

Kuwait, for example:

Q: Are routine crew changes permitted in your port?
A: As of now, crew changes are temporarily halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the commercial ports of Shuwaikh and Shuaiba. However, sign off is permitted at KPC terminals Mina Al Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah.

Q: If crew changes are allowed, are there any restrictions in doing so? (eg. mandatory COVID-19 tests or quarantine requirements)
A: The crew will be taken directly from the ship to the airport. No tests are conducted and there is no quarantine period.

Q: Are crewmembers who are either sick or injured permitted to be disembarked in your port?
A: Yes, subject to approval by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior.

Q: If crewmembers are allowed to disembark, are there any restrictions in doing so? (eg. mandatory COVID-19 tests or quarantine requirements)
A: Disembarking is subject to mandatory COVID-19 tests, and there is also a 14-day quarantine period.

Chief executive of the UK P&I Club, Andrew Taylor, said: “Constantly shifting global and regional restrictions during the pandemic can play havoc with logistics and planning. Our Global Crew Change Advice manual is an important document for members and we believe this is the most comprehensive A-Z index of how ports around the world deal with crew changes in the current pandemic environment. The document will be updated regularly when the situation changes and the club hopes members will find it invaluable when liaising with charterers and local agents for planning crew changes.”

"A vital cog in global trade mechanism"

Separately, the organisation welcomed the pending roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine, with crew welfare director, Sophia Bullard stressing the importance of seafarers in global trade.

“2020 has been an extremely difficult year for seafarers, with Covid-19 bringing mass disruption and uncertainty, resulting in huge numbers of crew being stranded at sea and suffering loss of income. But, the tantalising promise of the roll out of vaccine programmes in 2021, as well as the increasing focus on crew mental health and well-being, brings hope,” she commented.

“Once the vaccines have passed the scrutiny of the various government regulatory agencies, we will see them filter into the workforce. Seafarers, as identified key workers and a vital cog in the global trade mechanism, should be near the front of the queue. Mass vaccination will make global shipping operations more efficient and cost effective, and will significantly ease the current freedom of movement restrictions on seafarers.

“Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available, the UK Club’s Pre-employment Medical Examination Programme will consider its adoption at crew entry level, and shipping companies may opt for their crew to be vaccinated as a pre-requisite of employment.”

Image courtesy BSI Group

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