The Ministry of foreign affairs and the Ministry of transport of the Russian Federation at the initiative of the Seafarers Union of Russia are preparing a joint Declaration on facilitating change of ship’s crews. This was announced by Deputy Minister of transport of the Russian Federation Yuri Tsvetkov during the round table «Systemic problems of sea and river transport through the prism of COVID-19».
Recall that in September the Seafarers Union of Russia appealed to the transport department with a proposal to initiate consideration of the problem of repatriation and replacement of seafarers at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. The letter noted that the proposal states parties to take specific measures to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the world could be one of the video speeches of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, during conference on 22 September 2020 at the UN General Assembly.
The initiative formed the basis of another task, e.g. the development of a separate resolution to simplify the procedure for crew’s change.
«We hope that through the adoption of the resolution by the United Nations, all member states will make exceptions for the transit of seafarers, recognize them as key employees, facilitate the issues of visa approval or in some cases completely cancel this procedure, but most importantly will provide immediate access to medical care,»- said the Chairman of the Seafarers Union of Russia Yuriy Sukhorukov during the round table. We must not forget about the people who continue to support the world economy in the face of the pandemic». This statement was supported by the Deputy Minister of transport of the Russian Federation Yuriy Tsvetkov. He noted the great joint work done by the Ministry of transport, the Ministry of foreign affairs and the SUR towards the solution to the problem of repatriation of seafarers.
«Thanks to our cooperation we managed to do a lot: to help sick crewmembers with hospitalization in real time, to convince regional authorities about the inadmissibility of applying strict quarantine measures to Russian crews, – the Deputy Minister added. Now we will continue to work together to make a centralized decision on the issue of crew changes at the UN level, as well as to develop a specific mechanism for organizing this process».
It should be noted that since September 12, according to the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2338-R, foreign crewmembers of sea and river vessels are allowed to enter the country in order to follow the change procedure. The fact that foreign seafarers can come to Russia to change their colleagues is also the result of interaction between the state and the trade union.
According to the trade union, more than 7,000 Russian seafarers have been repatriated since the beginning of the pandemic. Of these, about half of the shifts were organized on the territory of the Russian Federation.
During the round table, Yuriy Sukhorukov stressed that the problem of crew changes is really very acute.