April 16, 2020
Working closely with the union’s contracted companies, the union is planning to move forward with phasing in larger-scale crew changes beginning on or around April 30. We will post and circulate a more-detailed communication in the near future, but in the meantime wanted to provide this update.
Members who are currently on the beach are strongly encouraged – for their welfare and the welfare of their future shipmates – to continue observing safety protocols in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines, such as staying at home whenever possible, washing hands frequently and maintaining appropriate distance from others if you should need to go out. This should help make for a smoother, safer transition as the crew changes occur.
Although there won’t necessarily be exact uniformity among every SIU-contracted company when it comes to vetting incoming mariners for COVID-19, we are working with them to help ensure general consistency and efficiency. With that in mind, Seafarers at minimum can expect to complete a pre-boarding questionnaire which will ask you about any symptoms that you may have, whether you have been exposed to people who have tested positive for this virus and whether you have remained at home for 14 days before attempting to return to work. In addition, you will probably receive a no-contact temperature check before boarding a vessel. Testing for the coronavirus will be phased in as more tests become available.
If you are sick, you should stay home. Under that circumstance, you will not lose your permanent job.
Be sure to stay in touch with your union hall, and check the SIU home page for the latest COVID-19 information. This is also a good time to consider signing up for SIU text alerts, if you’re not already enrolled. (Text the word “join” to 97779 to sign up. You can opt out at any time.)
On a personal note, I thank all of you for your patience and professionalism. Your union is committed to doing everything possible to protect your safety and wellbeing, and that’s definitely the case as we start to engage in more-frequent crew changes.
Let’s continue to stick together and work through these uniquely challenging times.
Vice President Contracts