For a number of fleets still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, repatriation of fisheries crew and change of crew are still key problems. This is due to the measures adopted in the various countries that restrict the travel and disembarkation of crew members.
The European Commission published general guidelines for the free movement of workers, in which fishermen are included as crucial professionals to whom free travel should be granted. Soon after, on 8 April, it published a communication with a conflicting message. The communication on Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships, explicitly states that these guidelines are not applicable to fishermen.
Following these inconsistent messages and looking for clarifications, the ETF and Europeche decided to send a second letter to the Commission.
We ask for appropriate measures to support fishermen who are now caught in an uncertain situation and stranded far from home. To the letter, we annexed a model certificate as a suggestion of a document that would facilitate the movement of fishermen when travelling nationally and internationally.
The letter and the model certificate are available for download here.