Japan issues crew change and ship delivery bans to 73 countries

15 April 2020

Japan has issued extraordinary travel bans covering 73 nations including the Philippines, whose seafarers account for almost three quarters of all crew on Japan's merchant fleet.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe has declared a one-month state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak as a recent surge in infections sweeps Tokyo and other major cities.

Japan is the world's third largest ship owning nation.

It is also the world’s third largest shipbuilder with a sizeable order book due this year.

The travel ban extends to Chinese nationals, another big source of crew for Japan, but not to Indian nationals.

The country's maritime bureau in Tokyo has stated it may be possible to enter the country by consulting individually with the quarantine authorities and immigration services.

At present, more than 100,000 seafarers are marooned at sea because coronavirus shutdowns worldwide are preventing them from entering or transiting countries and/or finding flights on which to return home.

Nautilus members who are experiencing difficulties related to the coronavirus outbreak are advised to contact their industrial organiser for assistance. In an emergency members can also contact the Nautilus 24/7 helpline.

More help and our coronavirus resource hub can be found on our Assistance page.