Repatriation of Seafarers during the Covid-19 Pandemic

In March and April hundreds of thousands of people were stranded around the world and unable to return to their home country as a consequence of closed borders and grounded flights. This included tourists, those working on temporary overseas contracts as well as expatriates who decided they wanted to return to their native country during the pandemic. The speed and scale of each governments response varied significantly, however most offered some level of assistance to its citizens in order to get them home, either through dedicated rescue flights or by coordinating with airlines and other governments to keep key routes operating.

Throughout May we have seen a significant reduction in the number of rescue flights being offered as fewer people require them, however, hundreds of thousands of seafarers remain stranded either on board their vessel or in foreign ports after being forced to disembark, long after the last rescue flights operated. It is becoming increasingly urgent to return these seafarers to their home country, especially those with underlying health conditions who may be considered vulnerable to Covid-19. In addition, mental health problems amongst seafarers are well reported and significant, therefore those who are suffering from new or worsening mental health can be considered especially vulnerable.

As well as coordinating dedicated air ambulance flights for hospitalised patients, Med ResQ is also broadening its services and offering its skills and knowledge to assist in the repatriation of non-medical cases. As part of our service, Med ResQ will;

  • Collate information of those needing to travel, including passports, visas and seaman’s book details.
  • Liaise with the relevant government and non-government authorities and register crew details (where practicable).
  • Continue to monitor commercial rescue flight options.
  • Quote and advise on both commercial and charter flight opportunities.
  • Liaise with the relevant airline offices and coordinate the issuing of tickets.
  • Coordinate with local agents to ensure necessary ground transfers and local travel permissions are in place.

If you would like to discuss this service or specific cases with us in more detail, please do not hesitate to get in contact. +44(0)2087060810