The UK Chamber of Shipping has requested the Government of the UK to adopt new measures so that crew changes in a ship can take place.

The UK Government will be the first country to adopt such measures.

The UK Chamber of Shipping has also asked the government to exclude seafarers and offshore workers from the quarantine restrictions for air travel, which may be implemented.

The International Chamber of Shipping developed a 12-step roadmap for crew changes along with input from various global associations. The International Maritime Organisation issued the guidelines.

The guidelines aim to free the seafarers who are stuck due to the Covid-19 lockdown and permit them to leave or join ships.

The UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Bob Sanguinetti said: “There are more than 1.2 million seafarers at sea at any one time and currently 150,000 seafarers due to change-over. The UK Government has an opportunity to become the first in the world to officially adopt and endorse these change-over measures.

“But it is imperative this is a two-step approach and the government avoids applying air travel quarantine restrictions to seafarers and other maritime workers.

“If we want to ensure supply chains remain open and essential goods, including food, fuel, raw materials and vital medical supplies, continue to flow into the country, it is vital that crew changes can take place and seafarers are allowed to move between countries without imposition. We call on the UK Government to once more lead the way and set an example to other governments.”

The issue has shifted into a humanitarian problem as many crew members have spent months on the ship and there is an urgent need to repatriate to their countries and replace them.