Ferry operator DFDS, in line with other shipping companies, now chooses to cancel crew changes for a period of two weeks, according to Danish seafarer trade union CO-Søfart's website.
CO-Søfart writes that Norden, Torm and RAL have also chosen to suspend crew changes for a set period.
Specifically, DFDS will carry out crew changes today, Wednesday, after which all changes will be suspended for two weeks as a consequence of the coronavirus situation.
We're carrying out the suspension on all ships at all ports
"We understand it may seem strange not to perform changes in places like Esbjerg if the person to be replaced lives there, for example. But we're carrying out the suspension on all ships at all ports," DFDS Legal Counsel HR Jens Jakob Hjort-Hartmann tells CO-Søfart.
The suspension applies to all cargo ships, the two passenger vessels King Seaways and Princess Seaways on the Netherlands-England route as well as to the two large Copenhagen-Oslo vessels Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways, which are stacked.
Affects 700 employees
DFDS says the suspension will impact around 700 employees, of which half are affected because they will not be replaced, while the other half will now not be embarking as planned for a period.
DFDS has informed trade union Metal Maritime of the situation, whose President Ole Philipsen has called it "the most proper measure to best protect seafarers," CO-Søfart writes.
At the same time, however, DFDS is urged to initiate negotiations as soon as possible in order to find solutions in terms of the working arrangement.
Maersk cancels to contain virus
On Tuesday, ShippingWatch reported that A.P. Møller-Mærsk had canceled all crew changes on its vessels for one month in order to contain the coronavirus contagion.
According to CO-Søfart, the initiative covers all of Maersk's operated container ships globally. The crew change cancellations apply until April 14.
Maersk informs ShippingWatch that it is still unknown how any employees will be affected.
"It depends on how the situation develops. The decision affects seafarers who were to sign off in the near future and seafarers on shore leave who were to sign on in the near future. So it is a significant part of our seafarers who are affected in some way or another," the container line's press office writes in an email.
English Edit: Jonas Sahl Jørgensen