The crew change crisis has been in place since January last year, ever since the pandemic started in the shape we see today. And, in the process, seafarers have been the invisible victims of the same. Some of the crew members have had to spend months beyond agreed contracts, and in some cases, seafarers have been marooned on vessels for more than a year now.

The situation showed relief when the number of COVID cases declined across the world. But, as India broke records, registering 400,000 COVID cases in a day, Singapore has decided to forbid crew changes for seafarers with recent travel history to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

In the past, UAE’s port of Fujairah has also banned crew change for ships arriving from India. Indonesia too barred access for all foreign nationals arriving in the country who have been in India in the last 14 days.

Seafarer recruitment from India too, received a backlog this week. Crew center reported that Royal Caribbean stopped hiring from the country in the face of rising cases. Around 300 Indian seafarers who were slated to join the group’s flagship Anthem of the Seas, have been laid off, fearing passenger safety.

Previously, the port of Singapore had banned seafarers with travel history to India in the last 14 days from undergoing crew change at the port. The recent addition of other South-East nations like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka came as a surprise to many.

Posted in General by Ankur Kundu on May 05, 2021 at 11:57.