NUSS chief calls for a re-think, fears job losses | Sunday Observer
Quarantine for Lankan Seafarers

NUSS chief calls for a re-think, fears job losses

14 March, 2021

An international maritime trade union yesterday appealed to the Government to have a re-think on the mandatory quarantine for Sri Lankan Seafarers who return to the country since it has threatened future jobs in the sector. Foreign shipping companies have stopped recruitment of Sri Lankan Seafarers since they do not wish to pay for the quarantine process cost which is around Rs. 200,000 per person, President of the National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka (NUSS) Palitha Atukorale said.

Sri Lankan Seafarers returning to the country are told to enter paid quarantine centres at selected hotels set up for the purpose even though they wish to do otherwise such as self-quarantine at home, Atukorale said.

He added that Sri Lanka is the only country that requires its Seafarers to enter the stipulated 14-day quarantine for a fee and this has caused concern among global shipping companies and, therefore, they have opted to look elsewhere for such manpower.

“At present, there is an estimated active 18,000 Sri Lankan Seafarers who rake in a foreign exchange remittance of around Rs. 10 billion annually and this vital income is now under threat.

Therefore, we earnestly call upon the Government with the utmost urgency to have a re-think on the quarantine for Sri Lankan Seafarers if we are to save this vital sector.

It is suggested that if the quarantine period cannot be lifted altogether for seafarers then at least reduce the number of days or permit home quarantine as is the current practice in most other countries.

What is important here for both the NUSS and other stakeholders including the Government is the future safety of the job opportunities in this sector for Sri Lankan Seafarers’, Atukorale said.