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Dubai opens for crew changes

Dubai, an important hub for crew changeovers, is finally allowing crew rotation on cargo vessels under certain conditions

Hotel stays are still not permitted for signing-off crew unless they have tested negative

DUBAI, a key hub for crew changeovers, has relaxed crew change restrictions, with the Dubai Maritime City Authority allowing moves under certain conditions.

According to DMCA, ships can rotate seafarers in Dubai port and anchorages subject to compliance with the Dubai Health Authority coronavirus guidelines and scheduled flights in United Arab Emirates.

“All agents are required to co-ordinate with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs’ Dubai Ports and Airports, and make sure the quick process of crew transfer from ships to airports and from airports to ships,” the authority’s Marine Anchorage Operations Department said.

On-signing crew will have to arrive with a seaman visa valid for 96 hours and should carry their polymerase chain reaction test results (valid for 96 hours) upon their arrival at Dubai Airport. A polymerase chain reaction test is a swab test. 

However, hotel stays are still not permitted for signing off crew, unless the seafarer in question has tested negative.

The relaxations should send a positive signal to the international shipping world, where the pace and scale of removing crew change barriers is said to be lower than expected.

Until now, the UAE had restrictions that were among the most confusing, according to port agents and ship operation managers.

“Direct verbal discussions with numerous authorities means crew changes may proceed at Dubai, Port Rashid, Jebel Ali, DMC and Dubai dry-dock,” information collated by shipmanagers said about the UAE, as of July 14.

However, for weeks, crew have not been allowed to enter the country to board a ship, despite guidance saying this was the case and tourists being allowed to fly in.

For any additional clarifications on crew changes, shipowners, managers and agents may contact DMCA via operations@dmca.ae.

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