COVID-19: European Commission adopts Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships

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COVID-19: European Commission adopts Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships

by Practical Law EUOn 8 April 2020, the European Commission adopted Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships.The European Commission, on 8 April 2020, adopted Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships.The Guidelines refer to Commission Guidance on the implementation of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, on the facilitation of transit arrangements for the repatriation of EU citizens, and on the effects on visa policy which was adopted on 30 March 2020 (see Legal update, COVID-19: European Commission guidance on implementation of temporary travel restrictions, transit arrangements and visa policy).The Guidelines among other things recommend that:

  • It is the primary responsibility of cruise ship operators and shipowners to arrange for the return of persons on board, regardless of whether disembarkation takes place within or outside the EU.
  • Seafarers on cargo vessels should be able to travel to the ports where they need to embark and disembark in order to return to the member state of their nationality or third country. This would also contribute to ensuring that the sector remains operational in the medium and long term, as confirmed by the Communication on the implementation of the Green Lanes adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2020 (see Legal update: COVID-19: European Commission adopts Communication on implementation of Green Lanes under Guidelines for border management measures).
  • Member states should designate several ports in the Union where fast-track crew changes can be facilitated. The ports should be geographically dispersed so as to cover the Union area and should be connected to operational airports and rail stations. Member states should envisage the possibility of dedicated or regular flight and rail operations to ensure the transport connections for crew changes, allowing for swift travel and repatriations of seafarers.

For an overview of the EU’s work in response to the pandemic, see Practice note, COVID-19: EU response tracker.Sources: European Commission: Communication (C(2020) 3100)Press release (8 April 2020).END OF DOCUMENTRESOURCE ID W-024-9601© 2020 THOMSON REUTERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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