Stranded seafarers on board Danish ships can return home

The Danish government, together with Danish Shipping, the maritime section of the Danish Metalworkers’ Union and the Danish Engineers’ Association, has found a solution whereby stranded seafarers on board Danish ships can come home.

Several thousand seafarers onboard vessels controlled by Danish shipping companies are now being given a helping hand from the government to come home.

Many seafarers have been stranded onboard their ships while the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, making it impossible for them to sign off duty and return home.

As informed, the newly reached solution is to apply the visa rules in such a way that seafarers who need to do so can obtain a visa to enter or travel through Denmark, so that they can sign on or off duty in Denmark or neighbouring countries.

“We have been fighting for a long time to get our seafarers home to their families, so I am very pleased that the government has listened and found a temporary model that allows crew changes. Now it is a matter of relieving as many seafarers as quickly as possible,” Anne H. Steffensen, CEO of Danish Shipping, commented.

Upon entry into Denmark, the industry itself must take a number of precautions for seafarers, in order to minimise the risk of the spread of infection.

Special departments will be set up for seafarers at airports so that they do not come into contact with others, and it will be possible for foreign seafarers to be tested for COVID-19 in Denmark.

In addition, shipping companies are required to ensure that seafarers are isolated in hotels, for example.

“It is an extraordinary situation that calls for extraordinary solutions. We are going to do everything we can to change crews in a responsible way so that the seafarers can come home,” Steffensen added.

Governments around the world are seen as the biggest barrier to solving the global crew change crisis. This is because governments have suspended international flights, closed borders, ports and airports and imposed travel restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19. As a result, thousands of seafarers have been unable to go home and be replaced because of restrictions.

Last week, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said that it estimates that there are now approximately 300,000 seafarers working aboard ships trapped due to the crew change crisis and an equal number of unemployed seafarers ashore waiting to join them.

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