What documentation do you require for a crew transfer?

In the shipping industry, crew transfers are a crucial part of daily operations. Moving crew members between vessels and ports requires careful planning, coordination, and documentation. In this blog post, we will discuss the documentation you need for a crew transfer and why it is essential to have all the necessary paperwork in place.

First and foremost, let’s define what we mean by a crew transfer. A crew transfer is the process of crew members signing on from their home country to vessel, signing off from vessel to home country and less frequently the requirement of moving crew members from one vessel to another. Crew transfers are necessary for various reasons, such as crew changes, medical emergencies, repairs, or inspections. Regardless of the reason, a crew transfer involves the movement of people and equipment, which requires proper documentation.

Here are some of the essential documents/information you need to submit upon the sailing and for crew transfers:

Crew List

The crew list lists all the crew members on the vessel. The list includes the name, position, nationality, and passport or seaman’s book number of each crew member. It is essential to update the crew list for each vessel in the NMWS system upon sailing.

Immigration Documents

Immigration documents including passports and seaman’s books are required and must be valid for the duration of the crew transfer. In addition, the seaman’s book must be ILO-ratified for crew members to enter and exit a port or country. If the seaman’s book is not ratified, a VISA will be required. Provided the passport and seaman’s book are in place, on-signers can join a vessel with an OK to board letter issued by their agent and off-signers can leave the vessel with a leave to enter letter issued by Border Force.

Health Certificates

Health certificates are no longer required for an agent to process a crew change. However, rules did apply during the COVID-19 Pandemic, to ensure that the crew were fit to work and without any communicable diseases. Currently, there are no requirements for the crew to undertake testing or produce evidence from vaccination to authorities.

Port Clearance Documents

Port clearance documents include the vessel’s clearance certificate, customs clearance, and cargo manifest. These documents are required for the vessel to enter and exit a port. It is essential to have these documents ready before the crew transfer to avoid any delays as they are an integral part of the arrival and departure of the vessel.

Crew Transfer Itinerary

A crew transfer plan or itinerary outlines the details of the transfer, including the date, time, location, and method of transfer. The itinerary should also include the names of the crew members involved and their positions and is issued by the crewing department or crewing company, with support from the agent when required and instructed to do so. Having a crew transfer plan in place helps to ensure that the transfer runs smoothly and safely.

In addition to these documents, it is essential to have a reliable and experienced port agency to assist with the crew transfer. A professional, experienced port agency can help with the coordination and logistics of crew movements, as well as assist with all related requirements for an efficient and hassle-free transfer, including but not limited to Documentation

  • VISA invites (if required).
  • Safe modern vehicle transfers for single or multiple crew members
  • Meet and greet (if required).
  • Hotels ranging from budget to premium at competitive rates.
  • Launch boat transfers at jetties and anchorages.

In conclusion, crew transfers are a vital part of daily operations in the shipping industry. Proper documentation is essential for the safe and efficient movement of crew members and equipment. Make sure to have all the necessary documents in place, including the crew list, immigration documents, health certificates, port clearance documents, safety documents, and crew transfer plan. Working with an experienced port agency can help to ensure that the crew transfer runs smoothly and safely.