Seafarers caught up in the crew change crisis have called the Neptune Declaration ’empty rhetoric’, telling the maritime world to stop patting itself on the back and understand the reality of travel restrictions and quarantines for seafarers.
Offsigning crew shared with Nautilus a harrowing example of the issues faced by seafarers, after they were confined in portacabins in Qatar following a scheduled pay off. Flight tickets home had already been booked by their employer when the Qatari government ‘changed the rules’. The 11 seafarers of four nationalities, ranking from ordinary seaman to master, then had to spend seven days locked inside these cabins.
Following two negative PCR tests the crew were allowed to proceed to the airport. However, two were blocked from boarding flights due to an administrative error that meant the swab test results were ‘not in the system’.
On reading of the Neptune Declaration one crew member said: ‘Give me a break. Look and see what British and international seafarers are dealing with during this global crew change crisis.’
Nautilus understands the crew are all now back at home.