Shipowners, seafarers’ unions and maritime employer groups are establishing their own approved international network of quarantine facilities to ensure seafarers can safely join ships, despite unpredictable changes to government border policies.
The move comes as the Omicron variant spurs governments to close their borders to seafarers needing to leave and join ships.
The Crew Enhanced Quarantine International Programme (#CrewEQUIP) is a partnership between the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC); the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Collectively, the organisations represent more than 80 percent of the global merchant fleet and nearly-one million international seafarers through almost 200 affiliated unions.
#CrewEQUIP will create a list of trusted hotels available for crew quarantines that are independently reviewed. The programme is designed to overcome frequent changes in government border policies affecting international crew by having the highest standards and industry-best protocols in place, ensuring the scheme will continue to safely get crew to vessels even if governments increase their quarantine requirements.
The groups said the programme is urgently needed to avoid the shipping industry returning to the worst extremes of the crew change crisis, which saw 400,000 seafarers trapped working aboard vessels beyond their initial contracts in late 2020, with an equivalent number unable to join vessels and earn income.
While a global, permanent system with digital vaccine and testing recognition is still urgently needed, the groups said #CrewEQUIP would be important to have in place in the meantime to support greater levels of crew change. The groups welcomed the announcement this week of a new joint WHO-ILO-industry action group to advance digital ‘yellow cards’ for seafarers and other workers who need to cross borders for their jobs.
Under the #CrewEQUIP scheme, shipping companies and their representatives such as crewing agents and vessel managers are able to sponsor pre-embarkation quarantine facilities for seafarers to be considered for recognition. Facilities must meet #CrewEQUIP’s stringent standards for hygiene, testing integrity and data security.
在#CrewEQUIP 计划下，航运公司及其代表，例如船员代理和船舶管理人员，可以为考虑赞助供海员上船前检疫的酒店获得认证。设施必须符合#CrewEQUIP 在卫生、检测完整性和数据安全方面的严格标准。
A facility must also pass inspections by Lloyd’s Register, the programme’s recognised external auditor, to become and remain recognised #CrewEQUIP providers.
From Thursday 16 December, shipowners, shipping companies and their representatives will be able to access the online booking portal to nominate pre-embarkation quarantine facilities at crewequip.org.