December 17, 2021 | Circular No. 11373

Dear Member,

Please note the following updates with respect to Covid-19 travel restrictions for crew members:

Travel Ban on Certain African Countries:

The federal government has announced that it is lifting its ban on travellers from ten African countries (Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe), which was imposed several weeks ago when concerns about the Omicron variant were first identified.  The ban is scheduled to be recinded on December 18 at 11:59 PM.  Conseqently, crew members or marine workers travelling from any of these countries in order to join a vessel in Canada will no longer be denied entry. Please note that we will update our “Checklist for Crew Members” to reflect this information once we receive official documentation from Transport Canada (which has not yet been made available).

Issues at Canadian Airports:

We have been made aware of a handful of cases in which both incoming and departing seafarers have had problems boarding flights in Canada, usually due to a lack of awareness / understanding of the applicable seafarer requirements and exemptions by airline boarding personnel.  We therefore strongly recommend that seafarers carry a copy of Transport Canada’s most recent ship safety bulletin on the mobility of seafarers with them at all times, as this has served as a very useful tool for resolving most of the issues noted above.  Although TC has only made the bulletin available in electronic format, we have provided here a PDF version of the document, for cases in which a hard copy may be easier to use.  Please note that the relevant sections of the bulletin as relates to seafarers who are either entering or departing Canada are listed below, as are the related page numbers in the PDF document:

  • Ability of seafarers to enter Canada for crew change purposes and exemption from vaccination requirement – see page 2 of bulletin (section highlighted in yellow).
  • Ability of unvaccinated departing seafarers to board an outbound flight, provided they have evidence of a negative molecular Covid test taken within 72 hours of boarding – see page 3 of bulletin (section highlighted in yellow).
    • Note:  This reference can also be used in cases where a departing seafarer is told that they need a Covid test even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • Exemption of seafarers and other essential transportation workers from the requirement to quarantine upon entry into Canada – see page 6 of bulletin (section highlighted in yellow).
  • List of Covid vaccines that have been approved by the Government of Canada – see page 9 of bulletin (section highlighted in yellow).

We trust that use of this document will help alleviate any future issues that arise at the border and are always available to provide any additional information as required.

Best regards,

Karen Kancens
Vice President