Nautilus has urged the government to rethink its policy to refuse key worker seafarers from hotel quarantine when arriving from so-called red list countries.
‘I am dismayed that the government has not followed its own policy of recognising the essential role that seafarers play in keeping supply chains open,’ Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said.
‘If the principle that seafarers are exempt from Covid-19 measures because they work in an essential service and because they work on ships, do not mingle with the general populations of high risk countries, and only travel under strict health and safety protocols to mitigate the health risks, I fear for what lies ahead.
‘If more and more countries are added to the red list, the jobs and livelihoods of my members are at risk.
‘We already know the Covid-19 financial support that the government provides does not extend to the majority of British seafarers.
‘Seafarer’s must not be left to carry the can for additional Covid measures, including the costs of any hotel quarantine. Their employers will have to pay, and no leave should be sacrificed either.’
Despite intense lobbying by the industry including by Nautilus, the government has refused so far to countenance the exclusion of UK resident seafarers despite being among the first countries in the world to recognise seafarers as key workers and to call on others to recognise their essential role in keeping maritime supply chains moving.
Scotland announced on February 11 it would also require a hotel quarantine for all travellers from ‘acute list’ (red list) countries.
The new measures in England require that, before any travel is undertaken, an online booking is made for a quarantine package costing £1,750 per person, which includes the hotel, food, transport, and testing for the ten-day isolation period.
The list of countries from which travel is currently banned include several where there are major offshore oil and gas projects which provide employment for significant numbers of the British maritime professionals. These include offshore Brazil, Namibia and Nigeria.