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22 January 2022 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 03:49 GMT+1

December 16, 2021

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Employers and seafarers' unions create a network of quarantine facilities to avert the crisis of the change of Man

World leaders urged to urgently provide a durable solution

The international representatives of shipowners and trade unions and seafarers' employers announced the creation of a worldwide network of quarantine facilities in order to ensure that seafarers during the health crisis of the Covid-19 can embark or disembark from their ships safely despite the often unpredictable changes in the policies of the governments for transit at national borders.

The Crew Enhanced Quarantine International Initiative (#CrewEQUIP) is the result of an agreement between International Maritime Employers' Council (IMEC), the International Chamber of Shipping) and the International Federation of Transport Workers (ITF), organisations representing more than 80% of the merchant fleet global and nearly one million international seafarers through almost 200 affiliated unions. The project was decided in consideration of the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus that induces governments to close their borders that become again impassable even for seafarers.

#CrewEQUIP will establish a list of hotels available for quarantines of ship crews. Under the programme, shipping companies and their representatives may sponsor pre-boarding quarantine facilities, facilities that they will have to meet strict standards and that they will have to exceed the Lloyd's Register inspections. From today the shipping companies and their partners will be able to access the online portal to designate quarantine facilities.

Explaining that "#CrewEQUIP will make the procedures of easier quarantine for both seafarers and shipowners and will ensure compliance with high standards'. the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, Guy Platten, reiterated that "however world leaders must urgently provide a durable solution to ensure that seafarers are no longer unjustifiably affected by travel restrictions subject to change and quarantine.'

"The seafarers - recalled the president of IMEC, Belal Ahmed - have been and continue to be severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. If the world has been repeatedly stopped, the seafarers continued to work tirelessly to keep international trade in continuous movement and, in definitively, to ensure that the world's population has food and stay warm. Yet, despite the important work done by the seafarers, many governments have made it anything but easy to transfer to and from the ships of these essential workers. This new program of quarantine facilities will give the industry more confidence in supporting travel so more regular worldwide than more seafarers'.

"Currently - also recalled the president of the Maritime section of the ITF, David Heindel - also changes apparently minor to border, health or Quarantine of a government can block a change of crew already planned, often leaving a seafarer without anything else choice that continue to work on board under contracts already expired. In the coming weeks - he denounced Heindel - too many seafarers will skip Christmas and other important events."

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