Crew change restrictions widen on Indian Covid-19 surge

The shipping industry is facing widening restrictions on where and when it can carry out crew changes in the wake of the recent COVID19 wave in India.

Crew changes for seafarers who have visited Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka within the past 14 days will not be allowed in Singapore from May 1, the city-state’s Maritime and Port Authority said in a statement on its website on Saturday.

COVID-19 cases and deaths in India have risen dramatically over the past month.

The prohibition follows a similar order for crew with a recent travel history to India announced on April 22.

Fujairah’s authorities also announced a ban on crew changes for vessels coming from Indian ports within the past 14 days, on April 29. The trend has the potential for significant disruption to the shipping industry, depending on how
long these measures last, as large numbers of seafarers come from the Indian subcontinent.

A crew change crisis hit the shipping industry last year, with COVID-19 lockdown measures leaving huge numbers of seafarers stranded on their ships far beyond their contracted time.

Widespread criticism was raised over what was perceived as a slow response to the crisis on the part of authorities around the world.