Coaltrans Asia 2021TelestackSailors SocietyTBA GroupTMS Awards 2021Bühler GmbH
  • Cleveland Cascades Ltd
  • TMS Awards 2021
  • Port of Stockton
  • Vigan
  • The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology
  • Telestack

Covid drives demand for crew-change specialists

(Posted on 11/10/21)

Crew change specialists are in big demand from shipping companies struggling to get seafarers on or off vessels because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, an industry figure has revealed.

Authorities around the world have either closed ports or introduced entry measures to prevent potential coronavirus carriers from entering their country – making it difficult for ship owners to get crew in or out, according to Peter Smit, Co-CEO of Boers Crew Services.

The upshot is that specialists like Boers, the Netherlands-based shipping crew transport services operator for Northern Europe, have never been busier.

“We’re moving around 10,000 crew members a year, which involves arranging about 20,000 visas with embassies around the world, and we now have about 20¬¬–30% more customers since this time in 2020,” Mr Smit said. “Leading ship companies are coming to us as they find it too complicated to deal with all the regulations and red tape. They know we’re specialists, so they ask us to handle everything.”

Boers offers an end-to-end service when transporting shipping crew members to and from ports in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, dealing with everything from entry visas and Covid-19 tests to medical services, hotel bookings and taxis.

Hans Boers, Co-CEO of the company, said he and his colleagues were used to overcoming any obstacles. “The most important thing for us is to get seafarers who are the engines of the world from A to B – even when embassies are closed. If that happens, we have the contacts to get things done.

“Our job is to find a solution. For example, seafarers need PCR tests in transit before boarding flights. That wasn’t initially happening in some airports, so we brought a doctor into the transit area each day to check the crew. We’re the only business in this field doing that.”

Arranging visas at short notice is a huge headache for shipping companies, which is where Boers comes in. “If you’re a ship owner with 10 crew who need to go to Europe next week, you have little time to get visas sorted,” Mr Smit said. “You have to arrange appointments with embassies, which can take a while. That’s when companies ask us to help, because we know our way round the embassies and have contacts in each one.”

Getting permission from immigration to let seafarers off the ship while in port for a crew change is another area that Boers specialises in. “Good communication and preparation are key,” Hans Boers said. “We speak to immigration before the new crew lands at the airport, to see if they will allow us to sign off the people currently on board the vessel, meaning they can then leave the ship.”  

After organising the visas, Boers books airline tickets for crew members travelling from countries such as China, the Philippines, India or South America to northern Europe via Amsterdam. The company also helps seafarers from these nations get home once their contracts end, ensuring they take PCR tests while in transit so they can board flights.

Latest News

Pacific Basin to offer customers carbon neutral voyages

(Posted on 02/12/21)

Hong Kong-based Pacific Basin Shipping Limited has announced the launch of its PB Carbon Neutral Voyage... Read more


DNV support for remote control shipping operations

(Posted on 30/11/21)

Classification society DNV has introduced the shipping industry’s first competence standard for... Read more


INTERCARGO: Submission to IMO’s MEPC 77

(Posted on 25/11/21)

At the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting this... Read more


Swedish Club members support online loss prevention training

(Posted on 25/11/21)

The Swedish Club has launched a new online training programme, aimed at delivering proactive loss prevention... Read more


Leading ship manager opens office in Hamburg

(Posted on 25/11/21)

Synergy Group, one of the world’s leading ship managers, has further expanded its global footprint... Read more


ABB to equip 12 Himalaya Shipping bulk carriers

(Posted on 18/11/21)

ABB's equipment package for Himilaya Shipping's ultra large bulk carriers will feature innovative shaft... Read more


Shipping needs ringside seat at debates says InterManager

(Posted on 18/11/21)

Shipping needs a “King Arthur-style” round table of many relevant bodies to fully represent... Read more


Anglo American aims for carbon neutral shipping

(Posted on 11/11/21)

Anglo American has set an ambition to achieve carbon neutrality across its controlled ocean freight... Read more


CSM’s new mental health initiative

(Posted on 11/11/21)

Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) has announced it is furthering its efforts to promote crew positive mental... Read more


INTERCARGO: global challenges require global solutions

(Posted on 08/11/21)

As the world considers the harsh realities highlighted by COP26, INTERCARGO warns that shipowners can... Read more


TOC EventsThe Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology Port of StocktonVan AalstCimbriaCleveland Cascades Ltd
  • Bühler GmbH
  • Sailors Society

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest global news in bulk cargo handling and shipping