BIMCO COVID-19 Weekly Report – 03 December 2021

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This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 8 October covers updates from Brazil, Latvia, Oman, Singapore, United Kingdom, the UK P&I Club, and the latest from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Every week, BIMCO summarises measures imposed by governments for sea transport, including for crew change, as well as updates from United Nations bodies such as the IMO, World Health Organization (WHO), and International Labour Organization (ILO).

1. World Health Organization (WHO)

Based on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE), WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron on 26 November 2021, WHO provides an update on Omicron, covering the danger of this strain of virus, effectiveness of current tests and treatments, and WHO’s recommendations for countries to undertake.

2. Government States

Argentina

According to information provided to BIMCO by VEGA & CO – Marine Risk & Insurance Solutions, all vessels arriving in Argentina are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine starting from the day of departure from the last port in Africa.

Additional details in Decisión administrativa 1163/2021 revealed that crew change is restricted as either or both the embarking and disembarking crew are prohibited from entering Argentina, if they have a travel history to Africa within the last 14 days.

Canada

Transport Canada has issued the following ship safety bulletins (SSB) due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant:

  • SSB no.19/2021 replacing SSB no. 16/2021 updating the guidelines relating to the mobility of asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic. With effect from 28 November 2021, a foreign national, including a seafarer,  is prohibited from entering Canada if within the last 14 days, they were in a country as determined by the Chief Public Health officer to have an outbreak of the Omicron variant or a risk of it. The list of specified countries at the time of reporting is as follows:
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

To check on the latest list of countries affected, please consult the List of Acts and Regulations for the list.

Similarly, a foreign national, including a seafarer, should not depart outbound from Canada for crew change purposes if, they have been in a country as mentioned above within the last 14 days of seeking to leave Canada.

Otherwise, effective 30 November 30, 2021, an individual traveller, including seafarers, when departing outbound from Canada to be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated foreign nationals, including seafarers, can still board an outbound flight as long as they provide a pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test result:

  • If the test result is negative, it must be dated within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure time from Canada.
  • If the test result is positive, it must be dated at least 14 days before but not more than 180 days prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure time from Canada (e.g., the traveller would be eligible to travel on day 15 after their test was administered, since 14 days have passed). This accounts for those that had contracted COVID-19, have recovered, but may still be testing positive due to lingering amounts of the virus in their system.
  • SSB no. 18/2021 on measures to support safe cruise travel in Canada where cruise ship operators are required inter-alia, to implement a COVID-19 Management Plan, ship to shore checklist respecting procedures at ports, to be submitted 45 days before arriving in Canadian waters.

France

The most recently updated list of Red list countries with severe travel restrictions to France includes the following:

  • Afghanistan
  • South Africa
  • Belarus
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Eswatini
  • Georgia
  • Lesotho
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Suriname
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Zimbabwe

The health control measures for Red list countries are as follows:

  • If you are vaccinated, you must present proof of vaccination status and a sworn statement attesting to the absence of symptoms of covid-19 infection and contact with a confirmed case of covid-19.
  • If you are not vaccinated, you must present to the transport company and border control authorities a certificate of recovery older than eleven days and less than six months or a negative PCR or antigen test not older than 72 hours before departure (departure of the first flight in the event of a connecting trip). For travelers from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland, European countries placed under surveillance, a negative PCR or antigen test of less than 24 hours is required.

Indonesia

According to information provided by the Cabinet Secretariat, travellers with recent travel history within the past 14 days to the following countries are restricted in their entry to Indonesia:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Eswatini
  • Malawi
  • Angola
  • Zambia
  • Hong Kong (SAR)

Foreigners are banned from entry, while Indonesian citizens will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Foreigners and Indonesian citizens without a travel history to the above-mentioned countries must undergo a 7-day quarantine.

Jamaica

According to information provided by the Jamaica Information Service, persons with recent travel history within the last 14 days to the following countries are prohibited from entry into Jamaica:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

Japan 

The Japanese Ministry of Justice has issued on 29 November,  a notice ” Strengthened Border Enforcement Measures Against the Omicron Variant ( B.1.1.529)“. In brief, the following measures are as follows:

  • Suspension of entry of foreign nationals effective 0:00 AM 30 November 2021 (JST). Will not apply to those who departed from a foreign country before 0:00 am November 30, 2021 (JST) and arrive in Japan after the imposed time of banned entry.
  • Quarantine required for all returnees and entrants – the number of days vary depending on the countries listed. See the abovementioned noticed issued for full details.
  • All returnees and entrants are subject to a 14 day quarantine, including vaccinated persons.

More information can be found here.

Mauritus 

Recent information circulated by the Government of Mauritius provides that entry restrictions would apply if a person has travel history with the last 14 days to any of the following countries:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Lesotho
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Zimbabwe

Norway

Following a surge in confirmed cases in Norway and in the wake of Omicron spreading out of the African continent, a new testing regime has been implemented requiring all travellers – fully-vaccinated as well – to undergo antigen testing upon arrival. Quarantine regimes apply as well. Seafarers are exempted from the general quarantine regulations. Please see the official translation provided by the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

Oman

According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News and confirmed by Oman Airports, travellers with recent travel history within the past 14 days to the following countries are prohibited from entering:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Mozambique

Omani citizens are excluded from this decision subject to testing on the day of arrival and day six hereafter and 7-day quarantine.

Philippines

Resolution no. 150-D as issued by the Inter-Agency Taskforce effectively suspends until 15 December, all inbound flights from:

  • Botswana
  • South Africa
  • other countries with local cases
  • Namibia,
  • Zimbabwe,
  • Lesotho,
  • Eswatini, and
  • Mozambique

The term “other countries with local cases” is not clarified and what the threshold for suspension of flights is. The list of countries as mentioned above which were classified as “Red” on 28 November  as per Resolution no. 151-A  was amended and will now include as on 30 November, the following additional countries:

  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • The Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Italy

Portugal

With gratitude to BICMO member Pinto Basto, please find the following information on COVID-19 restrictive measures:

The Portuguese government has raised the level of danger from State of Contingency to State of Calamity – a move, which heralds further restrictions to crew change. On this basis and as per Ministry Council Resolution no. 157/2021, please be informed of the present restrictions in force to enter/leaving Portugal as follows:

  1. Flights within EU and within Schengen Space are authorized, being allowed all voyages.
  2. Authorized flights to Portugal with passengers coming from, or originated from, countries outside EU and Schengen space are allowed with exceptions – list of countries to be determined.
  3. All passengers arriving from other countries, in which epidemiological situation is complying with EU Recommendation no. 2020/912 of European Council and respective updates – list of countries to be determined – are allowed voyages to Portugal.
  4. Passengers are only authorized to board flights to Portugal:
    1. If holding PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection with negative result and performed within 72 hrs prior boarding plane; or showing Quick Antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection (approved by EU Health committee) with negative result and performed within 48 hrs prior boarding flight.
    2. Or if holding a COVID-19 Valid Certificate of recovery
  5. Crewmembers on board ships, required to embark, disembark or to obtain license ashore, are only allowed under same conditions as above mentioned on item 4. (1. and 2.)

Reunion Island

According GAC Hot Port News , a new testing regime is implemented which applies to both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers alike as follows:

  • Vaccinated passengers: A COVID-19 PCR test done less than 48 hours before airplane boarding at PARIS CDG AIRPORT is compulsory. This will be requested by the airline and immigration, 48 hours from the date the sample/specimen was taken. If a test is more than 48 hours old, joiner will be refused boarding at Paris CDG Airport.
  • Unvaccinated passengers: A COVID-19 PCR test done less than 24 hours before airplane boarding at PARIS CDG AIRPORT is compulsory. This will be requested by the airline and immigration, 24 hours from the date the sample/specimen was taken. If a test is more than 24 hours old, joiner will be refused boarding at Paris CDG Airport.

Saudi Arabia

The government of Saudi Arabia announced to the IMO (via IMO circular letter no.4243 /Add.2) that a vaccination campaign for seafarers working on board ships calling at Saudi ports on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea has been launched.

Singapore

Á temporary suspension of crew change and vaccination of crew in Singapore has been effected on 2 December 2021. This suspension will apply to crew with recent travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe within the last 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore or transit through Singapore where entry will not be allowed. Full details can be found in the Port marine circular (PMC) no. 44/2021 issued by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore ( MPA). Note that this circular must be read in conjunction with PMC no.39/2021.

In addition to PMC no. 40/2021 where all operations are carried out contactless or contactless with segregation protocol, the MPA has advised via MPC no. 45/2021 issued today, that approval from MPA will be required for shore-based personnel to board ships that have called on any of the NTL countries listed in Annex A of the said circular, within the last 14 days or ships that have signed on crew from those countries within the last 14 days. For ease of reference, the NTL countries are as follows:

List of NTL countries
1. Botswana
2. Eswatini
3. Lesotho
4. Mozambique
5. Namibia
6. South Africa
7. Zimbabwe

Also, additional PCR tests for shore-based personnel required after disembarking would be required. Non-fully vaccinated individuals will not be allowed to board any ships in the port.

Spain

Following the outbreak of Omicron in southern Africa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has implemented travel restrictions to the following countries:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

It is unclear whether and to what extent seafarers are exempted from the 10-day quarantine regime imposed by Law 19801/21 and how far in the past travel history to these countries will impact  restrictions.

Sri Lanka

According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News, the Ministry of Health has restricted travellers with travel history within the past 14 days to the below countries from entering Sri Lanka as per public notice issued:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)

United Kingdom

According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News,  the government of the UK has adjusted the testing and quarantine regime and added a number of countries to the Red list. According to the news pieces,  seafarers are exempted from the ordinary testing regime, however they must still perform the  lateral flow test no later than days 2, 5 and 8 after arrival.

  • Quarantine at the place of stay in the UK, unless the seafarer lives UK.

The Red list of countries now includes the following:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Kindly notice guidance may be different for:

3. IMO 

The below circulars represent the latest information to-date from the IMO.

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 8, issued on 13 October 2021, provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers to-date with the latest additions of Bulgaria and Pakistan. The full list is shown below:

  • Addendum no.42 to IMO circular no. 4204 “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” issued on 17 September 2021 relating to joint IMO/ILO statement on upholding medical assistance obligations to seafarers and accelerating seafarer vaccination programmes.
  • Addendum no. 43 to IMO circular no 4204 “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” issued on 1 November 2021 offering a list of global ports offering vaccinations for seafarers.

4. IMO Crew Change – National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers 

According to GISIS today, the list of countries (46) informing the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium Brazil, Canada, the Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, IrelandIsrael, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand , Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

5. Others 

Industry organisations 

Version 1.31 on Global Crew Change Advice issued by the  UK P&I Club on 26 November covers update on South Africa.

6. BIMCO

BIMCO General COVID-19 Links 

BIMCO is continuously monitoring COVID-19 restrictions and its impact on the shipping industry in particular on crew changes. Below are some of the type of information  currently being provided by BIMCO :

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Source: BIMCO

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