Denmark’s government, together with Danish Shipping, the maritime section of the Danish Metalworkers’ Union and the Danish Engineers’ Association, have announced they have found a solution whereby stranded seafarers on board Danish ships can come home.
Several thousand seafarers on board Danish shipping company vessels are now being given a helping hand from the government to come home. Many seafarers have been stranded on board their ships while the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, making it impossible for them to sign off duty and return home. Now the government has reached a solution with help from Danish Shipping, the maritime section of the Danish Metalworkers’ Union and the Danish Engineers’ Association.
The solution is to apply the visa rules in such a way that seafarers who need to do so can obtain a visa to enter or travel through Denmark, so that they can sign on or off duty in Denmark or neighbouring countries.
Anne H Steffensen, CEO of Danish Shipping, said, “We have been fighting for a long time to get our seafarers home to their families, so I am very pleased that the government has listened and found a temporary model that allows crew changes. Now it is a matter of relieving as many seafarers as quickly as possible.”
Upon entry into Denmark, the industry itself must take a number of precautions for seafarers, in order to minimise the risk of the spread of infection. Special departments will be set up for them at airports so that they do not come into contact with others, and it will be possible for foreign seafarers to be tested for COVID-19 in Denmark. In addition, shipping companies must ensure that seafarers are isolated in hotels, for example.
“It is an extraordinary situation that calls for extraordinary solutions. We are going to do everything we can to change crews in a responsible way so that the seafarers can come home,” said Steffensen.