In the port of Kaliningrad crewmemebrs are prohibited to go ashore

Crews of vessels calling the port of Kaliningrad were forbidden to go ashore and contact family members. An exception is made only for vessels that carry out coastal transportation on the territory of the Russian Federation as well as for changing the crews of Russian ships that arrived from abroad.

At the same time the change of crewmembers from foreign ships is prohibited until further notice. This was announced on Friday by the regional headquarters for the control of a new coronavirus infection. It is noted that Port state state control inspectors, dockers, agents, ship chandlers, surveyors and persons associated with the maintenance of vessels are allowed on board only after conducting sanitary and quarantine control. All the persons have to use individual protective equipment (masks, rubber gloves). Changing the crews of Russian ships arriving from foreign ports is allowed with the observance of precautionary measures.

If it turns out that there is a sick person on a ship entering the port, the shipowners are ordered to immediately inform the emergency services and the ship must remain at a specially designated anchorage to remove the patient from the board.

We will add that according to the headquarters as of March 27 eight cases of infection with a new coronavirus infection were confirmed in the region. One woman has recovered and the rest of the patients, including a 13-year-old who returned from Austria, remain in a medical facility. 1575 people remain under medical supervision.  Meanwhile the port of Singapore has allowed a change of crews in special cases. It was decided to ease off the strict measures taken in connection with the spread of the coronavirus after discussions with industry representatives and trade unions. For example, a seafarer will be able to  to leave the vessel if the contracts of employment is completed  and the flag state does not extend their contract, for humanitarian reasons (for example if a family member dies), or if they are no longer able to perform their duties for medical reasons. 

The Singapore Maritime authorities will allow a shift if the crew member and their reliver were feeling well in the last 14 days before joining or leaving the vessel and during this time did not have contact with people who were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Many industry representatives welcomed the decision of Singapore. Frank Coles, head of the Wallem Group, called it common sense: "This is a good start, but we need a smooth change of crews of all workers in the global supply chain." Founder of the Singapore shipping company  Synergy Group, Rajesh Unni, said that he is pushing for important bunkering ports such as Houston and Gibraltar to also follow Singapore's example.

However, according to the Seatrade Maritime News portal, although the measures taken by Singapore can alleviate the global crisis of crew changes around the world, it can be extremely difficult getting seafarers to Singapore and sending them home as the number of flights at the local Changi airport has significantly decreased.

The Seafarers Union of Russia notes that at the moment, due to the measures taken to combat coronavirus, there are difficulties with discharging of crewmembers around the world. Various quarantine measures in ports result in thousands of seafarers being unable to return home upon completion of their contracts of employment and shipowners are having difficulty finding replacements. Therefore the SUR believes that the restrictions imposed on seafarers should be relaxed.