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UAE to allow crew changes in ‘special circumstances’

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has lifted some of its restrictions on crew changes allowing for disembarkation in special circumstances.

GAC quoted a UAE Federal Transport Authority circular that it had decided to lift crew change restrictions gradually which in the first stage would see priority give to seafarers on board vessels with “special circumstances”.

Four categories would be given priority – seafarers with resident visas to the UAE stuck onboard vessels, crew of passenger vessels laid up in the UAE, seafarers no longer medically fit to work onboard, and those with urgent medical or humanitarian cases.

Three criteria will also have to be met for a seafarer to disembark – that the ship they are onboard has left its previous international port 14 days earlier and the seafarer has no contact with anyone from outside the ship or the UAE in the last 14 days, and air ticket for the seafarer, and a medical statement if the seafarer is unable to continue working onboard.

“All port authorities, ship managers, operators, agents and any person involved in providing services to seafarers should ensure that the crew change will not violate the minimum safe manning requirements document determined by the flag state authority,” GAC quoted the circular as saying.

“FTA will review global health developments and the smooth flow of global air traffic from time to time, and will gradually reduce these requirements to ensure the return to normal procedures of crew change in UAE as soon as possible,” it added.