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Relaxed quarantine measures may rejuvenate Hong Kong’s bunkering and supplies sector

Non-cargo vessel crew are now exempted from quarantine, subject to conditions

The crew change crisis may welcome this nominal relief from Hong Kong’s new quarantine regulation. The country’s marine Department notified shipping firms that crew of non-cargo goods vessels visiting Hong Kong for shipping services, including bunkering and provision supplies, will be exempt from the curbs, subject to conditions.

Possible sector’s revitalising

Frankie Yick, a transport legislator told a major media, “This is a long overdue relaxation as the trade had already demonstrated to the health authority here in Hong Kong that there is no human contact throughout the process.” Given the country’s bunkering sector suffered a 70 per cent decline, this move is expected to significantly quicken bunkering timelines. It can also enable Hong Kong’s re-entry into the list of popular bunkering locations.

Hong Kong’s bunkering was severely wounded by the 14-day quarantine protocol imposed on crew of vessels calling for reasons other than to load or discharge cargo. This resulted in vessels’ diverting to alternatives such as China, Singapore and Taiwan for refueling. Yick added, “The trade does hope that business will come back to Hong Kong in due course.  It will certainly take a bit of time for our shipping industry to go back to the previous level of business.”

Bunkering and supply replenishing schedules were out of whack, impacting earnings round the globe. With crew change as a prevailing crisis in 2020, this is a refreshing change for vessels looking to refuel or replenish without any disruptions – especially for crew. It certainly has a positive impact crew’s contractual duration. Marine Online has an extensive listing of experienced seafarers looking to return to the workforce. Should this ease keep the virus under control, Hong Kong might just be the next booming market for crew recruitment.

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