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Sri Lanka eases crew-change ban

Sri Lanka has eased restrictions and now allows crew rotation through chartered flights as the country increases efforts to relieve seafarers stranded on ships. Offshore accommodation facilities and direct transfers to the airport will help reduce contact

Crew disembarking and signing on will be sent directly to the offshore transit hub wherein PCR tests would be done if necessary. Foreign crew embarkation/disembarkation via commercial flights is still not permitted

SRI LANKA has begun to allow crew changes through chartered flights as the country increases efforts to relieve seafarers stranded on ships.

The crew changes will be initiated through an offshore crew transit hub stationed in Sri Lankan territorial waters, which will provide temporary accommodations for seafarers during bulk crew-change operations, according to port agent GAC.

“The crew changes taking place through the Offshore Crew Transit Hub should be only on the basis of direct bulk crew changes facilitated via chartered flights from/ to Mattala International Airport,” the agents said.

However, foreign crew embarkation/disembarkation via commercial flights is still not permitted.

Crew disembarking from a vessel will be sent directly to the transit hub and, once the charter flights are available, will be transferred directly to the airport for repatriation.

Where required for seafarers returning to their home country, PCR tests will be conducted on board the transit hub, the agents noted.

“If any seafarer tests positive for Covid-19, provision for treatment should be made in the designated intermediate care facility.”

Meanwhile, on-signers who arrive in the country by charter flight will be sent directly to the transit hub from the airport and then embarked to their vessels as per the schedule.

A PCR test should be done for every on-signer within 72 hours before boarding their flight and should be made available to the respective port health officer prior to landing in Sri Lanka.

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