With the crew change deadline set out by a group of international stakeholders drawing ever closer, the administration in Hong Kong has taken a pragmatic approach, according to information provided by the Hong Kong Ship Owners Association (HKSOA) and confirmed by the Maritime Department (MARDEP) of the Hong Kong administration, allowing for facilitation of crew change from cargo ships without scheduled cargo operations in Hong Kong if the following conditions are met:
- Out-going crew members who have completed their service on board would be required to stay on board the vessel during their stay in Hong Kong and travel directly to the airport for repatriation to their home countries in order to minimise contact with the local community
- In-coming crew members should only arrive Hong Kong when their vessels are berthed in Hong Kong and should get on board immediately upon arrival. If there is a genuine need for them to stay in Hong Kong while waiting to board, the shipping companies/agents should arrange for accommodation for self-isolation until getting on board
- Point-to-point transfers should be arranged by the shipping companies/agents for crew members to and from the vessel.
For more details, please see the original release from MARDEP.
BIMCO applauds the work done by the HKSOA and welcomes the pragmatic approach taken by the Hong Kong administration. The acceptance of crew change on ships without scheduled cargo operations in Hong Kong is a milestone achievement in the maritime industry’s shared ambition to perform crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, this deed will encourage other administrations to take similar steps.
BIMCO is monitoring restrictions to crew mobility and provide a variety of information on the topic to the shipping industry such as:
- Details about implementation measures
- Overview of challenges to crew mobility
- Overview of extensions and exceptions to seafarers’ certificates
- Analysis of implications on statutory ship certificates, surveys, inspections and audits
BIMCO encourages relevant stakeholders in the industry to take full advantage of the information offered and encourages stakeholders to share new information with BIMCO in return via firstname.lastname@example.org.