China relaxes COVID-19 rules for its seafarers returning home 

45 countries designated seafarers as key workers

China is loosening quarantine restrictions overseas for Chinese national crews returning home at the end of their contracts.

According to notices from several Chinese embassies, Chinese seafarers will no longer need to serve 14 days quarantine before heading back to China from a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Middle East. 

The latest places of departure for Chinese crew, which will not require 14 days quarantine include UK, Portugal, Poland, Spain, UAE, Oman, Iran, Japan, South Africa, Romania, the Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand and Singapore. 

The 14-day quarantine requirement for Chinese crew prior to boarding repatriation flights has proved to be a major headache for ship managers as many countries require seafarers to board a flight within 72 hours of leaving the vessel, as well as adding a significant cost burden. 

Demand for Chinese seafarers has soared for newbuilding deliveries from the countries yards as COVID-19 restrictions have made it impossible to bring in international crew for first voyages from China.

COVID-19 testing requirements will also be eased including cancelation of the test or reducing test times, shortening the time limits or cutting down the closed-loop monitoring period of the ship crew departing from countries including Russia, Egypt, USA, Australia, Vietnam, Iraq and Malaysia. 

While China continues to implement a zero tolerance policy to COVID-19, the adjusted entry measures are designed to help Chinese ship seafarers return home more easily.

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