UAE makes crew change concessions

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has eased its restrictions on crew changes amid growing concerns that a lack of international cooperation was leading to some crew on ocean-going vessels effectively becoming prisoners on their ship, unable to return home at the end of their contracts.

The UAE Federal Transport Authority (FTA) said the first stage of the lifting of restrictions would be aimed at seafarers with a resident visa, crews on laid-up passenger ships, crew with medical issues and for those who needed to leave on compassionate grounds.

The FTA said that it would allow crew to leave provided the signing-off crew had been well for the previous 14 days before leaving the ship, and had not been in contact with a known or suspect case of Covid-19 during those 14 days. An airline ticket would also have to be shown. The Authority added that it was looking to get crew change operations back to normal as quickly as possible.

Hong Kong and Singapore have also eased crew repatriation regulations in recent days.