More than a year since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared and crew changes remain complicated but achievable. As case numbers rise and fall around the world the various travel restrictions and ‘red list’ countries change too. Flights are still being cancelled at short notice and seafarers have many medical tests to undergo before they can be deployed or repatriated.
Our staff continue to work hard 24/7 on behalf of our Principals to enable crew changes take place and ensure our vessels remain supplied with first-class crew members. With our strong links to worldwide port agency chains we are able to obtain the most up-to-the-minute information daily in terms of what regulations and restrictions are currently in place in whatever region our vessels are sailing, and we closely follow the IMO protocols.
Danica Managing Director Henrik Jensen said: “We now have more than a year of experience in how to handle these rapidly-changing pandemic problems. Some aspects require more advance planning than before while other challenges can involve last minute changes. We have learnt to be agile, adaptable, persistent and patient!”
Visa constraints and the availability of flights remain the biggest obstacles to overcome, while testing regimes vary from country to country and involve careful organisation to meet all requirements.
The past year has generated many tales to fill Danica’s history books. Such as the time 18 on-signers had to fly 18 different routes to meet the same vessel, or the time that our planned flight was cancelled while our crew were part way through a 20-hour coach journey to the airport. Through co-operation, dedication and careful planning our staff have determinedly upheld the famous saying that ‘failure is not an option’!
As Danica Crewing Officer Viktoria comments: “Crew change arrangement nowadays depend on a number of factors and require good cooperation between the crew manager, seafarers, the vessel, its agents, owners, and other involved parties such as port authorities, airlines and medical teams. But crew changes are achievable as long as you have in-depth, up-to-date knowledge, follow the best procedures and take everything possible into consideration.”
The human impact of the pandemic is clear. Even if the difficulty of obtaining flights is overcome, a positive test for an on-signer can mean a crew member is not relieved on time and has to serve for longer. Ms Oksenenko says the company keeps in close touch with seafarers’ families: “It is not easy to find the words to inform them that their loved-one is not coming home as was expected.”
Danica’s dedicated team has all the latest information on where to attempt crew changes and where to avoid them, which airlines are best to use in which region, where and how to obtain visas for various countries, and the experience to carefully and successfully put all these plans in place. To benefit from our expertise please contact Viktoria Oksenenko on tel: +38 048 233 43 41