Transport Canada has announced in an industry bulletin that crew changes in the maritime industry have been deemed essential. Because the “marine transportation sector provides a vital service to all Canadians in ensuring that goods (food, medicine, and other essential products) arrive safely in our ports” the exchange of crew is critical for the continued success of this supply chain. Transport Canada recommends that “the airline passenger (seafarer) joining a vessel in Canada as a crew member will have in his/her possession a seafarer identity document issued in accordance with the Seafarer’s Identity Documents Convention, 2003 (ILO Convention No 185) supplemented by a passport or other seafarer documentation, including proof of employment by a vessel operating out of a Canadian port; and a visa, if required.” We also suggest that the above linked Transport Canada bulletin is printed and carried by any travelling seafarers.
While this announcement is certainly a good thing, the logistics of crew changes in Ports outside of Vancouver just got more difficult as Air Canada announced that air service between Vancouver and Prince Rupert will temporarily stop. Provisional cancellations will continue until at least April 30th. These measures will certainly have far reaching effects especially in the marine industry where the logistics of courier packages, vessel spares, original government documentation, cargo samples, private surveyors and crew changes will need to be adjusted. Air Canada confirmed that all passengers heading to Northwest destinations will be redirected to Terrace, British Columbia which is an approximate 2 hour drive from Prince Rupert and may be used as an alternative for the time being. Crew changes are still possible through Terrace, however, additional costs will apply for transportation to/from Prince Rupert. Further details on effected routes can be found here.