In the table below, The North Club has summarised all information concerning which countries enable crew changes and not:

Country Crew Changes Allowed/ not Allowed
Angola May 5: Crew changes for locals are permitted only in Luanda for the time being. This is under special permissions obtained by the project operators. Regarding foreign crew, it is not allowed to embark/disembark for the time being.
Albania April 30: Albania enables crew changes concerning its own nationals, under the condition that the ship agent has the obligation to do several prior notification to the health authorities, border police and to the authorities of local government in which jurisdiction is the local harbor. After the confirmation taken from this authorities, the disembark crew member has to stay in quarantine for 14 days in one of the hotels confirmed from the state, after that he can leave towards home. The expenses for the staying in the hotel have to be afforded from the person himself.It is stated that the foreign nationals need a permit is required from the relevant Ministry of the country where the crew member with be repatriated, or relevant diplomatic embassy. After that some other permits has to be taken from other local authorities in our country.
Algeria April 30: All crew changes are prohibited except own nationals.
Aruba May 7: No crew changes allowed.
Argentina May 5: All crew changes are suspended except in case of “extreme necessity” which theoretically applies to nationals and foreigners. In practice the borders are closed and commercial flights suspended. Therefore no crew changes on foreign vessels are practically possible.
Australia May 5: Crew changes are permitted however subjected to restrictions and the permission of local authorities. In general, on signing crew are subjected to a 14 day quarantine at an airport hotel on arrival into Australia. If they are required to cross an internal boarder then they are subjected to an additional 14 day quarantine. Off signing crew are subject to a 14 days quarantine from the last foreign port. If the transit was less than 14 days, the remainder can be completed onboard the vessel in port or in a hotel. There are a limited number of flights operating internally in Australia.
Bangladesh April 30: Crew changes of foreign nationals are not permitted until further notice. Where crew of foreign nationality are required to be repatriated from demolition vessels after beaching, it is so allowed if the crew has undergone a period of 14 days quarantine period on board which means that such vessels have to stay for 14 days at the anchorage before beaching and Corona Virus free certification has been issued by the Port Health Officer on arrival of the vessel.Crew of own Nationality repatriated by air are allowed entry into the Country, subject to 14 days compulsory quarantine on arrival, similarly, crew of own nationality are allowed to be signed off and signed on the vessel at in Bangladesh in strict compliance with the health related guidelines.
Belgium April 30: No, Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in Belgium, the Belgian Immigration Services have stopped issuing transit visa for crew members, making it impossible for seamen to join or sign off in Belgian ports.Seamen with a valid Schengen visa are an exception.

There is no problem for own nationals.

Bahrain May 5: Crew change is not permitted for any nationals. However, there is a possibility of getting special approval from immigration on case by case, but there is no guarantee that the permission shall be granted.
Brazil May 5: No, only in exceptionally cases will crew changes of foreign nationals be permitted and the crew are required to board a flight on the same day as disembarking the vessel.Crew changes for Brazilian nationals are permitted however restrictions on internal travel make this difficult
Colombia May 5: No crew changes allowed. Additionally, internal and international flights passenger flights are restricted as well as land transport and the land and maritime borders are closed
Cambodia May 5: Government has made no restrictions to carry out crew changes either a country’s own national or foreign nationals. The issue is the non-availability of flights in / out of the country.
Cyrpus May 5: the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) officially announced a new process to facilitate crew changes, which are now possible in Cyprus under certain conditions.
Comoros May 5: No crew change allowed. No embarkation or disembarkation of armed guard personnel
Cameroon May 5: Crew change is not possible in Douala as airports in Cameroon are closed. However, crew change of a country’s own national is not prohibited.
Canada May 5: Crew Members are not permitted to disembark the Vessel until CBSA (Canada Customs) have spoken to and screened every sign-off. Domestic crew should follow the advice of their employer and local health officials. No traveller can board a flight/enter Canada if they are symptomatic with a fever and cough or a fever and breathing difficultiesTransport Canada is now requiring all air passengers to have a non-medical mask to cover their mouth and nose during air travel (including at airports). Travellers will be required to demonstrate that they have the necessary non-medical mask during the boarding process; otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey (applicable to all flights to, from and within Canada).
Canary Island May 5: Airports in the  islands are operative despite the number of flights being reduced. Crew Change, Seafarers Repatriation are allowed for both “own and foreign citizens”.Formalities: Crew Travel documents are requested, min 72h in advance, to submit formal petition before Authorities.
Curacao May 5: No crew-changes allowed except for emergencies such as serious injuries or death (and even then departure of injured crew rather than arrival of new crew).
China April 30: Shanghai P&I advise that crew changes involving Chinese nationals are now a simple matter depending on region. The Chinese government still strictly control non-Chinese crews’ landing and repatriation. If not for emergency situation, non-Chinese crews’ landing and repatriation would be extremely difficult in the current circumstances.
Congo May 5: No crew changes allowed
Denmark May 5: Yes, according to the Danish Police, signing on or off in Denmark in connection with crew change is allowed. Respective rules concerning quarantine need to be followed. All inbound and outbound personnel need to carry documents stating their purpose of transit.However, in practice crew changes of foreign crew is difficult – there are very few commercial flights departing from Copenhagen Airport.
Ecuador May 5: It is not possible to carry out foreign crew changes for the time being because all international and domestic flights are cancelled.
Egypt April 30: Crew changes are not permitted in Egypt until further notice.
France April 30: Yes, if commercial flights are available to travel back home and crewmember’s transit from hospital to airport by taxi is authorized by French authorities.All people circulating in France during quarantine period must carry a certificate for special dispensation  proving that their trip is imperative and cannot be postponed (fines for any infringement start at 135€) . This certificate will be prepared for the repatriated crewmember by the people organizing the transport stating that the trip from hospital to airport is imperative for a foreign crewmember having disembarked for medical treatment and now returning home, and to be presented with crewmember’s papers (seaman book and passport) as well as flight ticket and ‘fit to fly’ issued by the hospital in the event of any police control.

If repatriation cannot be organized on commercial flights as none landing in crewmember’s home country , there is the possibility of chartering medical planes with medical escort companies which is a more expensive option and still also very much subject to approval from authorities at destination which has to be checked on a case-by-case basis.

Immigration at CDG will still issue Schengen visas upon arrival for on-signers who are arriving without any visa. On-signers must arrive the same day as the vessel which means they are not authorised to stay in hotel.

For off-signers, Schengen visas are available when leaving ports BUT they must also leave CDG on the day of signing-off. Hotel stay is not allowed. And they have to hold their plane tickets.
Gambia May 5: Crew changes for nationals are authorized subject to the Health Service’s prior visit onboard at anchorage. They are prohibited for foreigners.
Ghana April 30: Wilhelmsen and S5 Agency World advise no crew changes are allowed.Wiltex advise crew changes of both Ghanaian nationals and foreign nationals are allowed provided no report of any COVID-19 related-sicknesses whereby the strict protocol measures will be enforced.
Gibraltar April 30: Crew change is allowed, subject to the following conditions:1) Crew disembarkation:

  • No OPL crew changes allowed – vessel must be at anchor.
  • Vessel disembarking crew cannot depart Gibraltar until crew have boarded the aircraft.
  • In case of flight cancellation, crew to be returned to vessel – Master to confirm acceptance of this in writing.
  • Disembarking crew to confirm free of any symptoms for the past 14 days – vessel’s Master to provide official declaration.
  • Agent to arrange special transport provisions – transportation from port to airport is to be using designated transport facilities, managed by MMGoG’s office for Civil Contingencies.
  • Agent launch crew to avoid close contact with disembarking crew.
  • No hotel stay allowed.

2) Embarking crew:

  • No OPL crew changes allowed – vessel must be at anchor.
  • Onsigners to be isolated in their hotel rooms for stay.
  • Only designated hotel to be used where hotel stay is required. This hotel facility is managed by HMGoG’s office for Civil Contingencies.
  • Agent to arrange special transport provisions – transportation from airport to hotel and to port is to be using designated transport facilities, managed by
  • MMGoG’s office for Civil Contingencies.
  • Agent launch crew to avoid close contact with embarking crew.
Guinea April 30: No crew change for foreigners. Airport is closed for commercial flights. For nationals, 14 days quarantine for off-signers may apply. It is forbidden to leave the capital Conakry for the remaining of the country. Checkpoints are in place.
Guinea Bissau Crew changes for nationals are authorized subject to the Health Service’s prior visit onboard at anchorage. They are prohibited for foreigners.
Honduras No crew change is possible for foreign nationals as airports are closed. Crew change of country’s own nationals is only possible for those disembarking at Puerto Castilla and San Lorenzo. Puerto Cortes and surrounding cities are closed due to most COVID19 cases localized in this area
India April 30: Crew changes allowed only for Indian nationals.Ministry of Home Affairs provide amended consolidated guidelines (No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A))that include transit arrangements for foreign nationals and advises no new restrictions on port or cargo operations; operating procedure for sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers at Indian ports; and Intra and inter-state movement of such seafarers on the basis of authorization/e-pass issued by Director General of Shipping, Government of India (DGS), along with physical copy of Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) as proof of identity issued by DGS.
Iran May 5: Currently, there are no restrictions in place for any crew changes of country’s own nationals and/or foreign national locally. The only mandatory requirement is to make sure all the necessary coordination must be done through the vessel’s registered agent. Also, based on past experiences, crew change of Israeli national might potentially be a problem.
Ireland (Republic of) April 30: Yes, special exemption to the lockdown is given to seafarers travelling via airports. However, hotels are closed.
Israel April 30: No. Crew members are not allowed to be disembarked.
Italy April 30: No crew change is allowed.
Ivory Coast April 30: Crew change is forbidden for any Ivorian and foreign national
Kenya April 30: Only in emergency cases will immigration department assist in facilitation of crew movement in consultation with other departments, namely Port Health, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority and others.
Korea April 30: All crews who intend to join/disembark to/from the vessel in Korea are allowed to enter Korea, however crew from countries with a suspension of visa waivers program requires a Korean visa before their entry to Korea and a medical examination report needs to be submitted to Korean embassy for visa application.

  • Crew from China, Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam are allowed to enter Korea without Korean visa.
  • All on-signers (regardless of their nationality) will need to undergo a 2-week quarantine upon arrival in the airport at their own expense.
  • Off-signers can disembark from the vessel after undergoing Special Quarantine Procedures and downloading the Self Diagnosis Mobile App.
  • They will have to report their health conditions through the Self Diagnosis Mobile App once daily and if the application is not downloaded, the off-signer is not allowed to disembark the vessel.
  • Chinese transit passengers without Korean visas and foreigners from China will not be allowed.

The following crew/passengers are restricted to enter Korea

  1. All Chinese seafarers with passport issued in Hubei province is prohibited to enter Korea
  2. All valid Korean visa issued in Hubei province has temporarily lost its effect until further notice.
  3. All foreigners that have visited Hubei province in the past 14 days is prohibited to enter Korea.
  4. All foreigners transit without visa to Jeju Island in Korea has temporarily lost its effect.
Lebanon April 30: No. Beirut airport is still closed for the normal traffic
Malta April 30: Crew changes are not permitted in Malta until further notice.
Montenegro April 30: It is possible to carry out a crew change of Montenegrin seafarers, but not for the foreign nationals.
Mauritius May 5: Crew change of own nationals is permitted in within 14 days of quarantine period ashore, while foreign national are not allowed.
Malaysia May 5: Crew changes of foreign nationals are not permitted, however foreign nationals are permitted to sign off vessels on medical grounds. Crew changes of Malaysian nationals are permitted with restrictions.
Myanmar May 5: Crew changes of foreign nationals are not permitted.Crew changes of Myanmar nationals is possible subject to the approval of the Myanmar Port Authority and Ministry of Health and mandatory 14 day quarantine.
Namibia May 5: Own country crew changes subject to 14 day quarantine and International crew changes not permitted. To be re-assessed by end of June 2020.However note that all airports are closed and  international travel to and from Namibian closed and banned.
Netherlands April 30: Yes for commercial cargo vessels. However, with the very limited available flights departing many shipowners leave the crew on board of their ships as they simply cannot fly home.
Norway May 5: Crew change of Norwegian nationals is allowed but restricted by quarantine rules. Crew change of foreign nationals is allowed, but will also be limited by quarantine rules for travelers  arriving from outside of Norway, with some exceptions. For example for crew necessary to maintain the safety of the Vessel.
New Zealand May 5: Crew changes are not restricted, but everyone coming from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days.  Below is the MoH guidelines: Marine crew arriving by air to join a vessel are to travel immediately and directly by private transport to the vessel where they will complete 14 days of self-isolation.Marine crew arriving by sea must self-isolate on the vessel for 14 days until they departed from after overseas port OR took on new crew (i.e. 14 days from the last day of possible exposure to a case).
Peru May 5: There is no limitation to carry crew change:A.- In respect of locals changing crew, except for limitations as to age, less than 60 years old are allowed, or what is described as patients of risk i.e. with heart, lung condition , diabetes, etc.

B.- As to foreign mariners please be informed that the national  boundaries are closed and no commercial flights are coming to or leaving from Peru, except humanitarian flights. On the other hand, there is no restriction as to maritime traffic.

Panama May 5: Crew change is not possible.
Philippines April 30: Crew changes for Filipino crew are permitted, subject to restrictions. Foreign crew are only permitted to disembark the vessel, subject to restrictions.The Philippine government has now allowed foreign cruise ships with Filipino crew members to dock in Manila ports and to be used as quarantine facilities for their crew members. Foreign crew on the cruise ships will be allowed to disembark in Manila “for the sole purpose of taking outbound flights to their final destination abroad” after finishing the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon disembarkation.

4 May: There is a suspension of all International flights to and from the Philippines until 10 May.

Russia May 5: Only Russian nationals can be replaced by the same local nationals. The old crew must comply with the quarantine requirement, that is 14 days under the doctors’ supervision staying home. There is no requirement to stay isolated in a hospital upon arrival from abroad. Only a close supervision by the health authority with daily reporting on the overall condition.Crew changes for foreign crew are not recommended due to the international flights being suspended. They can be performed only after special approval/confirmation by the Russian Sanitary Authorities at the urgent situations such as illness of the crewmember, death of the relatives. A crew member may sign off and stay in Russia until the flights are resumed, but the subsistence costs are to be covered by someone (the local authorities require a relevant assurance before they allow such a sign-off).
Reunion Island May 5: Yes, but subject to the following conditions. For a crew change operation at Port-Reunion, the following is required:

  • a copy of the passport of each crew members
  • the maritime declaration of health completed
  • crew List
  • confirmation that there are no symptoms of covid on board
  • list of ports of call & date
  • ship’s sanitary certificate
  • Company’s letter, in French, explaining the intended operation
  • e-tickets with final destination
  • attestation document completed for each crew members
  • for non-European crew member a ‘Sauf conduit’
  • All the flights (arrival and departure) should be booked on the same day of the operation.
Romania May 1: Crew changes for foreign nationals are not permitted. Romanian nationals may be permitted to disembark the vessel subject to restrictions.
Singapore April 30: Based on the details included in MPA’s published circular, crew changes can be conducted.
Senegal May 5: Crew changes for nationals are authorized subject to the Health Service’s prior visit onboard at anchorage. Crew changes are prohibited for foreigners.
Spain April 30: Yes, but is hampered by closure of commercial flights and is subject to the following conditions:

  • Crew on commercial vessels are allowed to sign off to return to their country of origin/residence.
  • Crew must prove that they have confirmed E-tickets and they do not transit or end in countries that have closed their borders.
  • For crew from EU or Schengen free traffic citizens, crew is to go directly to the airport to fly out immediately and vessel is to stay in port so that the crew can board again if the flight is cancelled.
  • For crew from other countries, it is dependent on approval by immigration authorities and crew will only be allowed to leave their rooms to buy essentials from the supermarket
  • As per government instructions, only 1 crew member per car during transfer service, and only 2 crewmembers per van.
  • Authorities will require the maritime health declaration, list of last 10 ports, and the crew list
  • The crew of the ships will prove their condition when required, through the presentation among others, of the following documents: a) Professional card or certificate (Certificate of competency or proficiency) or Seafarers’ identity document or Seaman Book). b) Written or employment contract of the shipping company, the contracting agency and placement or the Captain of the ship, which proves his designation as crew member (Employment agreement or Letter of appointment). This documentation will include, at less, the name and flag of the ship, port where it is located and estimated date for boarding or disembarking.

The crew of the ships will have access to Tourist accommodation when it is necessary to comply with the rest periods provided for the crews or to carry out the displacement of the crew to or from the Spanish port where the ship is.

Slovenia April 30: Crew changes of foreign nationals are permitted however travel restrictions make this difficult and crew may be subjected to a 14 day quarantine. Crew changes of Slovenian nationals are permitted. Off signing crew will be subjected to a 14 day quarantine at home.
Somali land May 5: Under strict medical supervision, crew changes from ship to ship are possible. Crew changes through air travel are not possible because all domestic and international flights are suspended.
Sri Lanka May 5: It is not possible to carry out crew changes of foreign crew as airports continue to be closed. However procedures are now in place for signing off of Sri Lankan seafarers, which guidelines have been shared by the Harbour Master, an official SOP will be released by the MOH
Sweden May 5: Crew changes are allowed – however international flights in and out of Sweden are very few.
Taiwan May 5: Taiwan Maritime and Port Bureau, MOTC (MPB) new measures of seamen’s entry and crew change. B Taiwan summarizes the new measures as below:

  1. Taiwan seamen’s entry is allowed, subject to 14 days self- quarantine.
  2. Foreign seaman (PRC seaman is excluded) whose condition falls within one of the following can apply for permit on the ground of performing business contracts at port:
  1. Work on a Taiwan flagged vessel, or
  2. Work on a foreign flagged vessel  (PRC flagged vessel is excluded) owned by a Taiwan owner, or
  3. Work on a vessel (PRC flagged vessel is excluded) that is being delivered or redelivered in Taiwan.

Foreign seaman who applies for permit for crew change at airport shall also fit for one of the above condition. Once the application is approved, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue temporary visa for 21 days.  Seamen shall undergo 14 days self-quarantine after entering into Taiwan. Exception: Seaman (Taiwan or foreign national) disembarks from a vessel only sailing Taiwan domestic route, or does not call at foreign ports for the past 30 days, only needs to carry out sell-health management during the stay in Taiwan.

April 30: No. For emergency crew changes, a 14 day quarantine is in place.

Togo April 30: Crew changes for Togolese nationals are monitored by a health service cell. Before any disembarking of crew members the control is strictly carried out on board the ship by specialized services. Crew changes for foreign nationals is allowed, but note that the Airport is closed for all commercial flights.
Thailand May 5: Crew changes of foreign nationals are not permitted. Crew changes of Thai nationals may be permitted with restrictions.
Ukraine April 30: No. Changing of crew of foreign nationals is prohibited at Ukrainian ports, so only seafarers of own (Ukrainian) nationalities change at Ukrainian ports.
USA – California April 30:  Yes. Coast Guard has no restrictions on crew changes in Northern California. However, they recommend that if foreign crew is being changed Customs and Border Protection be advised in advance as to when and where (anchorage, dock, city) any exchange will occur. If U.S. crewmembers are being exchanged, USCG recommends that the same advance warning be given to Center for Disease Control.   If there is any suspicion of COVID-19 affecting any crew, then local health authorities should also be advised
USA – Louisiana April 30: Case by case basis: some crew changes are being allowed as long as the crewmember has a direct flight home and not showing any COVID-19 symptoms.
Yemen April 30: No crew changes are permitted in Yemen, including Yemeni nationals on foreign flagged vessels.

The source of information: safety4sea
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