CEO Bulletin: Pressuring the politicians
There has been a lot happening this week. With U-turns on free meals for children over the summer, speculation on how long quarantine rules will stay in place, will children be allowed back to school before the summer holidays and many other issues. At the Chamber our role is to monitor high-profile issues to see if any will affect our membership, whilst not taking our eye off the more nuanced policy details.
At the beginning of the week we wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister on crew changes. The reality is many seafarers have been on board ship for months, have had no contact with coronavirus, and they have now come to the end of their duty and cannot get home. This situation is unacceptable. The UK has an opportunity to lead the world on crew changes and we want the UK government to host a virtual global summit to encourage other countries to allow these crew changes to take place.
We also wrote to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson MSP on quarantine restrictions. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have provided an unqualified exemption from the 14-day self-isolation requirement for seafarers when they return from working onboard a vessel. However, the regulations in Scotland do not, as they only permit the exemption where a seafarer is due to go back to work within 14 days. This is an inconsistent and confusing situation which clearly puts our Scottish members, Scottish resident seafarers and the whole Scottish maritime sector at an unfair disadvantage, especially in the offshore energy sectors. At a time of great difficulty and hardship for many what we urgently need is a uniform approach so that Scottish resident seafarers are not disadvantaged, with disproportionate economic impacts on vessel operators in Scotland accommodating for their Scottish-resident seafarers. And that is what we told the Minister.
Next week we look forward to welcoming a number of you on our first virtual Understanding UK Shipping course. It would usually be held in London, but we hope this new way of running the course will still prove to be enjoyable and informative for all involved. If you haven’t booked your ticket there is still time. And on Wednesday, in partnership with Gard, we will be running our first Webinar looking at the impact of Covid-19 on shipping insurance. Head to our website for more information or to book your ticket.