Dear Captains, Seafarers, staff members, clients and associates,
We would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on the crew change situation.
We have so far managed to perform crew changes for our Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and other East European seafarers in ports of Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. We have also performed some crew changes in France, Spain and Portugal.
Although crew changes are theoretically possible in Singapore, requirements such as 14-day prior notice make it logistically challenging. Additionally, we have observed a lack of consistency in terms of the approval process. The Authorities approve and reject crew changes without clearly providing information why certain crew changes are approved and others not. Unfortunately, several recent crew change applications have been rejected.
Initially, we managed a number of crew changes in Hong Kong. However, the limited number of flights out of Hong Kong has resulted in a number of off-signing crew being stranded there, resulting to a significant reduction of available hotel accommodation. Consequently, the Hong Kong Authorities are imposing crew change restrictions again.
Crew changes in the US remain very challenging as repatriation flights to Manila and to Europe are subject to various restrictions which in reality are very difficult for us to comply with.
Despite domestic lockdowns being in place we are able to perform crew changes for our Russian and Ukrainian crew via the airport of Minsk, Belarus.
On a positive note, there are intentions by Dubai to open up for crew changes very soon. If indeed feasible, we do hope that this will further contribute to the facilitation of crew changes.
The situation in the Philippines still remains very difficult. Limited quarantine facilities still cause restrictions on the number of returning Seafarers being allowed to enter the country. Flights to Manila, alternatively Clark or Cebu, are still very limited and often cancelled on short notice due to overflow of quarantine places for returning seafarers.
The Government of the Philippines have now created draft guidelines for the introduction of a ‘Green Lane’ which will allow Overseas Foreign Workers to be prioritised when returning back home. The Implementation is presently awaiting approval.
We are working on the possibility of arranging charter flights between Manila and Hamburg and possible other destinations and hope to have some news on this subject soon.
For reasons as explained above, the backlog of crew to be repatriated to Eastern Europe is slowly reducing, even though the number of overdue seafarers remains high.
For our Filipino, Indian and Cabo-Verdian crew, the situation is not yet improving and numbers of overdue crew are still on the rise.
Please rest assured that every possible effort is being made to return overdue crew home. All our resources are deployed to investigate and where feasible execute crew changes. However, as stated, in reality crew changes still remain very challenging due to a number of factors such as local restrictions, limited accommodation and reduced flights which are also prone to last minute cancellations.
The lobbying of various institutions to put pressure on Governments to open borders for seafarers as ‘key workers’ is still on-going.
We once more express our ‘BIG THANK YOU’ to all our seafarers and their families for the patience demonstrated until now and hope that the situation will soon change to such an extent that will allow us to carry out all overdue crew replacements.
MARLOW NAVIGATION CO. LTD.
Previous Company Advisories
Announcement 2 June 2020 - Updated - Marlow Advisory on Coronavirus
Announcement 30 April 2020 - Updated Company Advisory Regarding Coronavirus
Announcement 8 April 2020 - New Company Advisory Regarding Coronavirus
Announcement 23 March 2020 - Update - Company Advisory on Coronavirus
Announcement 14 March 2020 - Company Advisory regarding Coronavirus