Shipping Australia liaised this week with the visa section of the Australia Border Force. Matters discussed included visa-related data, processing of maritime related visas, reasons for delays, communication channels, the need for protocols and different visa types.
“Given that crew changes are vital to maintaining continuity of the supply chain, Shipping Australia emphasises that the visa approval process for seafarers needs to be given priority. Where visa applications lack the required documentation the system should not prevent submission,” said Deputy CEO Captain Melwyn Noronha.
He added that, because of the length of the mandatory quarantine period, short-term transit visas are unsuitable. Seafarers then have to make an application for a visitor visa.
Applying for new visas adds further complexity and delays in the current environment in which arranging crew changes is an already extraordinarily complex operation.
A simple solution would be a regulatory amendment to temporarily increase the validity of the transit visa.
Capt. Noronha also praised the efforts of the Australian Border Force.
“Shipping Australia continues to work with the Australian Border Force and we both acknowledge and appreciate their efforts in getting seafarer visas approved,” Capt. Noronha said.