In anticipation of today’s meeting of the Transport Ministers meeting and tomorrow’s Home Affairs Ministers meeting, ETF and ECSA, together with Cruise Lines International Association and World Shipping Council, addressed a joint letter to ministers.
Maritime industry representatives urge the European Commission and members states to take action immediately and enable crew changes in European ports through visa facilitation.
Organisations reiterate claims from previous letters and demonstrate the different ways seafarers have been affected but the COVID-19 travel disruptions. Crew members who have had their contracts extended – in some cases by many months – urgently need to be relieved by their colleagues, yet it still remains exceedingly difficult for any crew changes to take place in the EU.
If urgent action is not taken, the issue will continue to affect thousands of seafarers – over the next two months between 100,000 and 120,000 third-country seafarers will need to be issued with Schengen visas so that they can travel to relieve crew on vessels in EU ports.
ETF, ECSA, CLIA, and WSC outline the various actions that need to be taken in order to address this situation effectively. Details of their proposals can be found in the letter, available here.