Port organisations call on EU member states to enable crew changes

The EU flag. Credit: European Union

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and the Federation of European Private Port Owners (FEPORT) have urged European Union member states to facilitate seafarer movements to and from vessels within their ports.

The ESPO and FEPORT highlighted that this can be achieved through the recently adopted European Commission’s ‘Green Lanes’ concept. The concept, issued on 23 March, removes restrictions to transport workers who need to cross borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESPO and FEPORT have also called on shipping lines to liaise with member states and airports to ensure the necessary flights home for crews can be arranged, both within the EU and to third party countries.

“If crew changes and transfers can be facilitated from and to one port in the country, they can be facilitated in all ports. This issue should be solved as quickly as possible, but must not lead to a top-down reshuffle of port calls in Europe. The Green Lanes concept, combined with a better coordination between Member States is the most effective solution,” said Isabelle Ryckbost, secretary general of ESPO.