This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 19 August 2022 covers the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including crew change national contact point, Fiji, Poland, Ukraine, and the latest from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
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, WHO, ILO and the Port State Control MoU regimes.
The below represent the latest information from the IMO.
- Addendum no. 35/rev.11 issued on 22 March 2022 provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers. The latest list of 65 notifications is shown below with the addition of Morocco :
- The IMO Secretary General, in addition to IMO circular letter no. 4524, which appeared in our weekly COVID-report dated 11 March, has expressed his deep concern via IMO circular letter no. 4524/Add.1, regarding the spillover effects of the military action in Ukraine on global shipping, logistics and supply chains. The security threats to merchant shipping can be found on this NATO link.
- The IMO held an Extraordinary General Meeting of its Council on 10 and 11 March to discuss the impact of the present conflict situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov ( the “high risk areas”) on shipping and seafarers. Several decisions were made, in particular, an agreement to establish as provisional and urgent measure, a blue safe maritime corridor for the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high risk areas allowing ships to commercially navigate and mobilise as necessary, thus avoiding the military attacks, whilst protecting and securing the maritime domain. As COVID-19 is still ongoing, these decisions would also overlap with measures taken for the pandemic. In addition, the same measures applicable to protect seafarers during COVID-19 are also applicable here as addressed by the Council to support the seafarers, in particular, as key workers, they are given unrestricted movement with ships allowing to sail from the ports of Ukraine at the earliest opportunity given, and due to the conflict, it was proposed that government states exempt their seafarers from mandatory military service.
- Addendum no. 44 to IMO circular letter No. 4204, issued on 28 February, publishing a joint IMO/ILO/UNCTAD /WHO statement urging continued collaboration to address crew change crisis, safeguard seafarer health and safety, and avoid supply chain disruptions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Addendum no. 4/Rev. 4 to IMO circular letter No. 4204, issued on 28 February, providing an updated version of the ICS guidance for ship operators for the protection of the health of seafarers.
2. Government States
The Fijian Maritime Safety Authority in a Marine Notice 06/2022 via an IMO circular letter no. 4385/Add.2, has granted a general extension on the validity of seafarer’s STCW certificates including endorsements that have expired to 10 November 2022. This circular supersedes Marine Notice 03/2022.
Via anIMO circular letter no. 4232/Add.17, the Polish government has issued updated Guidelines on extending the validity of seafarers’ maritime documents in the period of COVID-19 emergency state. In general, extensions granted earlier for a period of 90 days for seafarers’ documents expiring on 1 March 2020 or later are revoked and seafarers are required to immediately revalidate their documents upon expiry or expiring soon, as soon as possible. However, extension of contracts is still applicable on a case-by-case basis, in particular if “the situation resulting from the epidemic does not allow repatriation”.
The launch of Black Sea Grain Initiative on 22 July 2022 with the newly established Joint Coordination Centre ( JCC) under the auspices of the United Nations resulted in a set of mandatory procedures for merchant vessels on 6 August 2022 as a condition for port entry/departure to or from Ukrainian ports. Note that this is only an export arrangement for the safe export of foodstuffs and fertilizers including Ammona from Ukrainian ports. Vessels are prohibited from importing cargo into Ukrainian ports under this initiative. For full details, please refer to the IMO circular letter no. 4611 dated 9 August 2022. Please see also BIMCO news pieces ” Procedures for safe export of foodstuff etc from Ukrainian ports” and “ Grain agreement could see 65% of Ukraine ‘s seaborne capacity open“.
From the North P&I Club, update as at 9 August below:
“Maritime security consultants Risk Intelligence advise:
- The frontlines are still close to the major port cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson, controlled by Ukraine and Russia respectively, with shelling of Mykolaiv occurring regularly. Kherson is reportedly the main objective for an imminent Ukrainian offensive in the south, with potential combat taking place around the port.
- The Sea of Azov remains closed for navigation, although some vessels are allowed by Russian authorities to transit the area.
- The occupied Ukrainian ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol are, according to Russian officials, open and operating. However, there is very limited traffic, and it has been noted that most existing traffic is coordinated by Russia in order to transport stolen Ukrainian grain, as well as metals and metallurgical products seized from the Azovstal plant.
- The Danube ports of Izmail, Reni and Ust-Dunaisk are operating and handling ship calls via the river and the Sulina Canal. While these ports are able to alleviate some of the congestion and issues presented by the closed Black Sea ports, traffic on the narrow canal system is limited. This has led to considerably congestion at the mouth of the Sulina Canal.”
3. World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO issued a statement on 12 July in respect of the 12th meeting held by the International Health Regulations ( 2005) ( IHR) Emergency Committee on 8 July 2022 regarding COVID-19 pandemic WHO. The said meeting confirmed, amongst others, that COVID-19 continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern and urged all governments to continue to apply public health and social measures proportionate to their epidemiological situation, stressing the continued use of effective, individual-level protective measures to reduce transmission. The set of temporary recommendations issued by WHO was reviewed by the IHR Emergency Committee which can be viewed at the end of the WHO Statement.
Please see BIMCO-WHO for more information.
4. IMO Crew Change – National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers
According to GISIS today, the list of countries (57) informing the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers are: Algeria (new), Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands) , the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica , Cyprus, Dominica, Ecuador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco , Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore , Sint Maarten ( Kingdom of the Netherlands) , Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand , Tunisia, Ministry of Transport ( new), Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.
5. Port State Control – MOU
Due to the situation in Ukraine, collective guidance harmonising the Port State Control activities ( PSC) has now been issued by the Indian Ocean, Paris, and Tokyo MoU on PSC and Vina del Mar Agreement relating to the repatriation of seafarers. Full information can be found in an IMO circular letter no. 4524/Add.2 dated 31 March 2022.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) issued the following on maritime labour issues and COVID-19:
- Information note (revised version 3.0 dated 3 February 2022), addressing the current COVID-19 situation and how the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 as amended (MLC, 2006) pertaining to seafarers’ rights ought to be implemented including inter-alia, the application of force majeure may no longer be invoked when there are other options available.
- Extract from the 2022 Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations relating to COVID-19 and maritime labour issues.
- ILO Special Tripartite Committee (STC) on MLC,2006 – a statement issued by the officers of STC on 11 February 2022 pertaining to the continuing negative impact of the pandemic on seafarers’ rights.
There is no news issued for this week.
BIMCO General COVID-19 Links
BIMCO is continuously monitoring COVID-19 restrictions and their impact on the shipping industry in particular on crew changes. Below are some of the types of information currently being provided by BIMCO :
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