Sri Lanka: Offshore Crew Transit Hub for bulk crew changes

Sri Lanka

The UK Club Correspondent, GAC Shipping Ltd, would like to remind Members of the commencement of bulk crew changes of international seafarers from 22nd December 2020, through the Offshore Crew Transit Hub (OCTH) operated by a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP). The crew transit hub is a passenger vessel stationed in Sri Lankan territorial waters providing a temporary stay for seafarers during bulk crew change operations.

Members are advised that the crew changes taken place through the OCTH should be only on the basis of direct bulk crew changes facilitated via chartered flights from/to Mattala International Airport (MRIA). Please note the PPP require minimum 96 hours for processing the request and making arrangements for crew change, hence please make advance requests.

Disembarking Crew:

  • Disembarkation of crew from a vessel and send them directly to the OCTH and once the charter flights are available they will be transferred directly to the airport for repatriation.
  • Seafarers requiring PCR tests to return to home country, PCR tests will be conducted on board the OCTH.
  • If any seafarer becomes positive for COVID-19 PCR test, provision for treatment should be done in the designated intermediate care facility.

Embarking Crew:

  • The on signers who arrive to the country by charter flight will be directly sent to the OCTH from the airport and then embarked to the vessels as per the schedule.
  • PCR test should be done for every on-signer within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight and should be made available to respective Port Health Officer (PHO) prior to their landing in Sri Lanka.


  • Since the seafarers are directly transferred from airport to the OCTH and vice versa, they are exempted from PCR testing conducted at the Points of Entry (unless in any other conditions specified on the SOP).
  • Crew change to be done under the supervision of Sri Lanka Navy and they should escort the crew transport vehicle.

Flights Available:

  • Scheduled charter flights available for seafarers between airports of Male & Dubai and MRIA.
  • Exclusive charter flights are  arranged by Agents as per requirement, however crew change needs to follow above procedure.
  • Foreign crew embarkation/ disembarkation via commercial flights are still not permitted in Sri Lanka.

Local Sea Farers Embarkation/Disembarkation are permitted. Sick crew disembarkation is subject to permissions on a case by case basis.

For more information please get in touch with your usual Club contact who will be pleased to assist you.

Meredith Yang