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Crew Change Feasibility Review – Key Port Regulations - Crew Replacement of Filipino Seafarers

Below is a summary of local regulations for key ports as of 31 July 2020. Local regulations are subject to frequent change.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Local regulations are subject to frequent change

1. Fujairah & Dubai, U.A.E.
No crew changes possible at Fujairah, but Dubai Port is permitting crew changes.

Local Regulations:
 Dubai Port has recently re-opened and is allowing both on- and off-signers – both must obtain seaman visas
 Off-signers: Testing is required upon arrival in port, and disembarkation only allowed when negative test result has been received. Following disembarkation, crew must exit the country within 96 hours. Temporary hotel stays can be arranged.
 On-signers: Crew arriving into Dubai must have PCR test from their home country showing negative test result taken no more than 96 hours prior to arrival. Immigration officials may also conduct random PCR tests at their discretion upon crew’s arrival at Dubai airport – if selected, must wait 2-3 working days for negative test result prior to vessel boarding

2. Rotterdam, Netherlands
Crew changes currently possible.

Local Regulations:
 Off-signers: Should carry ticket showing flight departure on same day as disembarkation. Seamen must travel from the vessel to the airport, via immigration
 On-signers: Must travel directly from the airport to the vessel. For nationalities that require them, must be in possession of requisite visa upon landing.
 Vessels: All vessels required to submit maritime declaration of health between 6-24 hours prior to arrival at pilot station

3. Houston, U.S.A.
Crew changes possible but require case-by-case approval; limited flight availability for offsigners.

Local Regulations:
 Off-signers: U.S. Customs & Border Protection must be petitioned for each crew member. Master’s Statement of Crew Health required, including declarations that:
 No crew on board have any Covid-19 or flu-like symptoms
 No crew on board have been to China, Iran, Schengen Area, UK or Ireland in the last 14 days
 All crew are found in good health and all temperatures are not greater than 98.6⁰F
 Off-signers preferred to have direct and continuous travel out of the US, but can depart via other US cities if granted a transit permit
 On-signers: Crew are allowed to arrive in the U.S. if they clear airline pre-screening. No quarantine procedures in place, unless passengers show signs of Covid-192

4. Singapore
Crew changes possible for off-signing only (no on-signers) and Singapore-registered vessels.
Other crew changes only for medical reasons or employment contract expiration.

Local Regulations:
 Singapore has tightened restrictions, and now only allows crew changes for off-signing only (no replacement on-signers), and for Singapore-registered vessels
 Other crew change applications will be considered for a) expiration and no further extension of employment contract; b) compassionate grounds (e.g. death in family); or c) crew is no longer medically fit to serve onboard
 All crew changes are subject to case-by-case approval by MPA
 For approved cases, off-signer and on-signer requirements continue to be in effect:
 Off-signers: Crew must have flight booking and proceed immediately to the airport upon disembarking. Vessel shall not depart until crew has departed on flight. Sea port doctor must provide fit-to-travel medical certificate.
 On-signers: 14-day quarantine required, but may be satisfied if self-quarantined in home country. Requires Covid-19 PCR test with negative result not more than 48 hours prior to departure from home country. Fit to travel medical certificate issued by doctor no more than 24 hours prior to departure from home country. Vessel must be in Singapore port prior to crew arrival in Singapore.

5. Gibraltar
Crew changes generally possible, but ability of Filipino crew to travel to / from Gibraltar is limited.

Local Regulations:
 Off-signers: Disembarking crew must confirm free of symptoms for the last 14 days. No hotel stays permitted. Vessel cannot depart Gibraltar until disembarking crew has boarded aircraft. In the event flight is cancelled, crew must return to vessel. No OPL crew changes allowed.
 On-signers: Seamen must board vessel within 24 hours of arrival, and must be isolated in hotel room at designated hotel prior to embarkation. Special transportation arrangements must be made by agents. No OPL crew changes allowed.
 Filipino crew currently unable to travel to / from Gibraltar, given travel restrictions imposed by the UK immigration: Crew holding seaman’s book and passport from the Philippines are not permitted to stay overnight at airport in the UK.

6. Suez, Egypt
Crew changes possible.

Local Regulations:
 Crew changes possible at Suez, with minimum requirements
 Off-signers: Must have confirmed departure flight prior to disembarkation
 On-signers: No PCR test certificate or quarantine requirements
 Crew changes also assumed possible beginning 1 July, but no policies or restrictions have yet to be published

7. Antwerp, Belgium
Crew changes possible.

Local Regulations:
 All previous limitations on crew changes have been lifted
 Schengen visas are now being issued again for off- and on-signers, but visa-on-arrival not being granted
 Only requirement is for private transportation to be arranged (1 passenger per car / 2 passengers per mini-van)

8. Panama
Crew changes possible, but only via chartered flight until at least August 22 and must involve
consular confirmations.

Local Regulations:
 Panama international airport is closed for flights until at least August 22, but chartered flights can continue to operate
 All crew changes are subject to approval by the Ministry of Health on a case-by-case basis
 Embassies or consulates of each crew member must contact Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm seamen will be allowed to be repatriated
 On- and off-signers must submit medical certifications

9. Hong Kong
Crew changes possible, but crew of vessels not performing cargo operations will be subject to
14-day quarantine.

Local Regulations:
 Beginning July 26, Hong Kong tightened restrictions on crew changes. Only crew of vessels performing cargo operations will be exempted from quarantine upon arrival
 For crew of vessels not performing cargo operations, 14-day quarantine will be required upon arrival in Hong Kong, prior to departure
 On-signers for ships with cargo operations: Must produce negative test certificate, with testing no more than 48 hours prior to boarding flight to HK. Must arrive in HK only after vessel has berthed, and must travel directly from airport to vessel.
 Off-signers for ships with cargo operations: Must stay on-board vessel until immediately prior to flight departure. Must travel from vessel directly to airport.

10. Point Lisas, Trinidad
No crew changes possible.

Local Regulations:
 Trinidad government has closed borders – neither on- or off-signing is permitted
 Disembarking for life-threatening medical emergencies may be considered, but special approval must be sought from the Ministry of National Security4

11. Incheon & Ulsan, South Korea
Crew changes possible, but 14-day quarantine now required for both on- and off-signers.

Local Regulations:
 Off-signers required to take Covid test upon disembarkation and are now required to quarantine for 14 days at government designated location. Early release may be possible if vessel has sailed for more than 14 days from the last port. Registration in tracking app will be required.
 On-signers required to quarantine for 14 days at government designated location, upon arrival in South Korea and prior to embarkation. Total cost of quarantine approx. US$1,200 per person.

12. Kemaman & Penang, Malaysia
No crew changes currently possible, but may soon allow crew changes with quarantine for bothon- and off-signers.

Local Regulations:
 Malaysia’s movement control order, which includes bans on all international and domestic travel, continues to be in effect
 Detailed procedures to allow for crew changes are being considered, and will likely involve 14-day quarantine for both on- and off-signers upon arrival in Malaysia

13. Tokyo, Japan
Crew changes possible, but subject to quarantine and strict restrictions.

Local Regulations:
 Off-signers: Only if vessel has spent at least 14 days at sea since its last port visit. If all crew members are in good health, declarations will be taken, and approval from the port authorities can be sought
 On-signers: All passengers arriving in Japan subject to PCR test upon landing, and must quarantine in hotel for 14 days.

14. Columbo, Sri Lanka
Some crew changes permitted, but only via chartered flights.

Local Regulations:
 Crew changes continue to largely be suspended following a case of large number of onsigners testing positive on June 22nd
 Commercial flights not operating – chartered flights required

15. United Kingdom
Crew changes possible, with minimal restrictions.

Local Regulations:
 Both on- and off-signing possible, with limited restrictions
 All travelers will be required to complete an online declaration within 48 hours prior to departing the UK; non-English speaking travelers will require assistance5

16. Victoria, Australia
Crew changes possible, but subject to case-by-case approval.

Local Regulations:
 Crew changes subject to application and approval, which takes 3-4 days to complete
 On-signers may be required to undergo 14-day quarantine if vessel will be calling at other Australian ports
 On- signers for vessels with next port of call overseas can travel to the vessel from the airport only if vessel is departing within 48 hours; otherwise will be directed to quarantine site until vessel is ready to depart
 Off-signers can travel to the airport upon disembarkation if flight departs within 24 hours. If more than 24 hours, they will be directed to a government-specified quarantine hotel

17. Dar es Salaam & Zanzibar, Tanzania
Crew changes possible.

Local Regulations:
 Off-signers: Will be subject to temperature screening and can travel directly from the vesselto the airport. Must ensure airline will accept passenger without negative Covid test results, as it takes a minimum of 1 week to test in Tanzania. Hotel stays also possible if required to wait for next flight.
 On-signers: Must carry Covid negative certificate from home country, prior to arrival in Tanzania. Hotel stays possible if required to wait for vessel arrival.

Source: JOINT MANNING GROUP (JMG) - Memorandum-Circular No. 053-20
Shared To:

To        :           JMG MEMBER-ASSOCIATIONS

Filipino Association for Mariners' Employment, Inc. (FAME)

Filipino Shipowners' Association (FSA)

International Maritime Association of the Philippines (INTERMAP)

Philippine Association of Manning Agencies and Shipmanagers, Inc. (PAMAS)

Philippine-Japan Manning Consultative Council (PJMCC)


NOTE: The purpose of this post is for immediate information only when conducting crew change or replacement of Filipino crew / seaman at above mentioned Ports. This is also for guidance of crewing officers, crewing manager & crew operation staff, especially for ship manning agent in the Philippines.   

Above information is based on collected data only. Please send inquiry to your crew handling agent for further updates. Please also share your updated information on the comments section.

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