THE Australian Maritime Safety Authority says it has received eight requests from seafarers for contract extensions beyond the 11-month limit of the Maritime Labour Convention during the coronavirus crisis.

As previously reported in Daily Cargo News, the regulator has indicated it was prepared to consider exemptions to the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding concerning seafarer in order to take steps to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“Travel restrictions and quarantine measures which have been put in place in Australia and overseas to slow the spread of COVID-19 are creating situations where some seafarers are unable to leave a ship at the end of their contract as planned,” an AMSA spokesperson stated.

“AMSA is taking a pragmatic approach to these situations and that is consistent with a regional, Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding approach.

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“AMSA is considering, on a case-by-case basis, extensions of seafarer contracts in these circumstances.”

The spokesperson said ship owners and operators were required to provide “a comprehensive plan” for their case to be considered by AMSA.

“To date, AMSA has received eight requests from seafarers,” the spokesperson said. “Every request has been passed on to the vessel’s flag state to ensure they are involved in the management of these issues.”

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