COVID-19: ETF and ECSA advocate for effective action on crew changes

14 May 2020


ETF, in cooperation with its social partner ECSA, has urged EU Commissioner for transport Adina-Ioana Vălean to step up coordination efforts to facilitate crew changes in the EU Member States.

Guidelines and protocols have been published on international as well as EU level, but that hasn’t necessarily improved the everyday reality of seafarers. Many remain stuck on ships or are prevented from returning home due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. The issue continues to grow in severity and needs to be immediately addressed. Seafarers are tired and tensions onboard are mounting. Fatigue-related accidents are bound to happen if governments do not take action.

In their letter, social partners call for a stronger coordinated approach across sectors (maritime transport, ports, airports, etc.) in view of implementing the Framework of Protocols as put forward by international parties and supported by the International Maritime Organisation.

The implementation would signify a turn to a more long-term approach to the current situation, which is sorely needed. Measures such as the extension of certificates are important, but it would be unacceptable and dangerous for seafarers’ health and safety to continue extending them without any perspective for improvement.

ETF is committed to supporting the European Commission and the member states to take their responsibility and do everything in their power to find practical solutions to make crew changes and repatriation of seafarers happen!

The joint letter is available for download here.