ICS calls on Dutch government to facilitate crew changes

Despite borders opening further, some 200,000 seafarers are still trapped on their ships due to corona, with another 200,000 waiting at shore to take over from them. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has called on the Dutch government to take a more flexible approach concerning visa to help them.

‘Globally there are now 400,000 seafarers who are either stranded at sea and have overrun their contracts or are at shore waiting to start their tours of duty,’ says Guy Platten, secretary-general of ICS. ‘We are very concerned about the safety and mental state of these seafarers. This can’t go on like this.’

Dutch newspaper NRC reports that ICS wrote a letter to Dutch State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol (Justice and Security, VVD) because of the Netherlands’ position with its Rotterdam and Schiphol hubs. In it, ICS, together with the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR), asks the Dutch government for a more pragmatic and flexible approach.

This particularly concerns regulations for visa. According to ICS, most Dutch seafarers have been able to return home, but many crew members, especially from the Philippines, Indonesia and India, are not allowed to leave their ship in Rotterdam. Seamen from outside the Schengen area often do not meet the Dutch requirements for the visa needed to continue their journey home. The ICS and KVNR are hoping the government will work on this.

Source: ANP (with additions)

Picture by US Coast Guard.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.