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COVID-19 – Guidelines for Crew Change

Guidelines for crew change in respect of the COVID-19 outbreak

In order to maintain vessel traffic and the continuous transportation of goods to and from the Faroe Islands during the Corona outbreak, the Faroese Maritime Authority has issued the following guidelines for safe crew change in Faroese ports:

Crew signing off in the Faroe Islands

  • Crew or other personnel who have not had contact with persons outside the ship and sign off in the Faroe Islands after at least 14 days on board and do not have any signs of illness are considered healthy and do not need to be quarantined.
  • Agents and vessel owners must provide a location for foreign crew to be held in quarantine, if necessary.
  • Vessel owners must establish clear guidelines on how to transport crew safely out of the country.

Foreign crew signing on in the Faroe Islands
The Faroese Police has announced that a provisional border control on entry will be put into force in the Faroe Islands with a view to prevent that foreign citizens to enter the country without a worthy purpose. The entry control is aimed at foreigners without residence or employment in the Faroe Islands and who do not have a worthy purpose of entering.
Therefore, all foreign seafarers signing on in the Faroe Islands must be able to present valid travel documents as well as documentation for employment in the Faroe Islands. Employers must provide the seafarer with the documentation about employment in the Faroe Islands.

The Faroese Maritime Authority expects good planning and risk analyses from the vessel owners, describing measures to ensure that crew changes can take place without increasing the risk of infection.

Signing on and off abroad
The Ship Registry is aware that travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are disrupting scheduled crew changes. In some cases, this has meant extending the SEAs of the current crew. Provided the following criteria are met, this course of action is acceptable and there is no requirement to contact the FMA:

  • The extension of the SEA is mutually agreed by the seafarer and shipowner.
  • It is documented by way of a new SEA or addendum to the current SEA, signed by both parties; and
  • The service period does not exceed 12 months (or any alternative limit prescribed by an applicable CBA or SEA)

If this service period will exceed 12 months (or any alternative limit prescribed by an applicable CBA), then the FMA should be contacted.

Vessel in national trade
Crew members who have signs of infection must follow the recommendations of the authorities and go into quarantine. The situation is ever changing, and new guidelines may be issued according to any new recommendations from the authorities.

In the meantime, it is of the highest importance that all crew members and personnel on Faroese vessels follow the authority guidelines on hygiene and personal conduct in order to prevent the virus from spreading and thereby ensuring that vessel traffic to and from the Faroe Islands can continue as unhindered as possible.