Foreign crew change in Thailand not anytime soon

Crew changes in Thailand are becoming routine, but alas, it’s Thai-only practice, no foreign crew changes permissible, so far.
On Jun 11, 21 seamen of Thai nationality were relieved in Thailand ports of Bangkok and Laem Chabang, from 3 Thai ships: bitumen tanker TASCO ANAN (IMO 9279642, dwt 3851); general cargo ship SEA WISDOM (IMO 9576882, dwt 14411); chemical tanker PHUBAI PATTRA 1 (IMO 9481386, dwt 7177). All were taken to designated hotels (Hotel AMBER in Bangkok, hotel BELLA EXPRESS in Pattaya – both are 3-star hotels) for a 14-day quarantine.
On Jun 15, 16 seamen of Thai nationality were relieved in Thailand port of Bangkok, from container ships JARU BHUM (IMO 9796274, dwt 20026) and LALIT BHUM (IMO 9801500, dwt 19779). All relieved crew were placed under 14-day quarantine in Hotel AMBER.
On Jun 20, 6 seamen of Thai nationality were relieved in Thailand port of Bangkok, from bitumen tanker TASCO AMATA (IMO 9279680, dwt 7139). All relieved crew were placed under 14-day quarantine in Hotel AMBER.

It’s difficult to predict, what this “new normal” realm in Thailand will look like, providing there will be a “new normal”.
Thai’s minister of toursim and sports said recently:
…The “high-end visitors” will be able to travel freely while they’re on the island and be allowed to leave for home or other destinations in Thailand once the minimum 14 days have passed. The country plans to court such visitors, possibly during the winter months of November-February when European and American travelers seek out warmer climates, Mr Phiphat said.
“One person can easily spend as much as five by staying at the finest hotels,” he said, adding that full and free travel should become a “thing of the past.”…

In a moderate scenario, with chaotic “new normal” practices, determined by each nation more or less independently, Thailand will hardly develop into a popular “Safe Crew Change Hub”, without restrictions or with as few restrictions as possible. It will be something in-between, and hopefully, authorities will apply to foreign crews the same rules they apply to tourists, businessmen, skilled workers, etc., not these 12-steps guidelines, concocted by IMO and “maritime organizations”.

Thailand Government is planning to allow foreign nationals back into the country, starting Jul 1. About 50,000 foreigners are likely to visit the country under the new rules:
About 30,000 people expected to arrive for medical and wellness tourism.
Others include about 15,400 skilled workers and experts; 2,000 teachers, educational personnel and students; 2,000 foreigners with Thai families or with residences in Thailand; and 700 business people and investors.
Long stay visitors will have to undergo 14-day quarantine.
Short stay visitors will be tested for Covid-19 both before and upon arrival, have health insurance and will be monitored by medical personnel.
Government is planning to open so-called “travel bubbles” with countries, deemed free from disease, top candidates being China and Japan, NZ was also mentioned.

But more or less mass visiting is not to be expected anytime soon, not before September at the very least. It is rumored, that the EU flights may be resumed sometime in November.
Not any published or spoken plans specifically mentioned seamen and crew changes, and the key role they play in supporting economy and supply chains. Maybe it’s for good, in the long run, because it means, that the seamen, on arrival and departure, will be treated like any other human being, not like wild extremely dangerous animals.

Voytenko Mikhail
June 28, 2020

Crew Change in Thailand

Crew Change compliant with IMO Guidelines

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