All nationalities of seafarers would be excluded from COVID travel restrictions in the UK, including obligatory hotel quarantines.
Seafarers will be excluded from the Red List and Acute List nation restrictions—the UK’s COVID travel restrictions—as of March 19, according to the UK Department for Transport.
If seafarers have been in Red List or Acute List countries, the rule change would enable them to enter ships, take shore leave, and return home without having to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine or take a COVID test.
The UK Chamber of Shipping hailed the news as a victory for its lobbying efforts.
“This is a major achievement for the Chamber, which has urged both the UK and Scottish governments to exclude seafarers from the prohibitions.
Limits on people arriving in the UK, such as quarantine and inspection, does not apply to seafarers. We are ecstatic to have played a role in obtaining this exemption. “Seafarers are important staff who play a critical role in keeping trade flowing,” said Tim Springett, policy director of the UK Chamber of Shipping.
Travel restrictions implemented by countries seeking to avoid the worldwide spread of COVID 19 have trapped seafarers having to travel to and from vessels dispersed across the globe. The crew shift crisis has prompted maritime and labor organizations to campaign for the recognition of seafarers as essential workers and the facilitation of their travel as essential workers of global trade.