This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending1 July 2022 covers the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including crew change national contact point, Greece, Singapore, 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 Hellenic Maritime Administration via an IMO circular letter no 4241/Add.10 advised that a general validity of extension is granted till 31 December 2022 for all certificates of competency (CoCs), certificates of proficiency ( CoPs) as well as allowing for endorsements of the same by foreign authorities expiring during the same period.
The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore issued the following circulars:
- Port marine circular (PMC) no 14/2022 on “Crew change for cargo ships in the Port of Singapore and application for vaccination” superseding PMC no.06/2022 and is effective from 26 June 2022. Note that there are 2 different sets of system for fully vaccinated crew and non-vaccinated crew.
- PMC no.15/2022 on ” Lifting of mandatory maritime declaration of health (MDH) for vessels arriving in the Port of Singapore” superseding PMC no 16/2020 to be effective today (1 July 2022). Only vessels arriving from any of the countries listed in Annex A of the said circular are still required to submit the MDH. Ships with suspected sick person or death on board would also be required to submit MDH.
Update as at 27 June 2022 from North P&I club:
- The operational status of Mariupol, Berdyansk and Kherson ports remain disputed.
- Ongoing severe threat from military operations in the north-western area of the Black Sea
- Aside from affected areas, the Black Sea is assessed as operating normally – including Russian ports, which are operating at ISPS level 2.
- Increased naval presence and activity, congestion when transiting the regional straits, and congestion at other regional ports due to increased volume of diverted traffic
- Sightings of mines and mine-like objects continue being reported – specific details are difficult to verify, which adds to the operational uncertainty. While a connection to the war is likely, the exact origin of individual mines is uncertain.
- The IMO has earlier stated that the de-mining process could take several months.
- Additional area threats include incidents of GPS spoofing mainly to the east and northeast
- The closure of all Ukrainian commercial seaports by Ukrainian officials is still in effect
- The area of the north-western Black Sea, north of 45°21’ near the Ukrainian and Crimean coasts, remain a prohibited area of navigation by the Russian Navy
- Russian officials announced that the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait is closed for transit – though some transits have previously been reported
- The River Danube ports of Izmail, Reni and Ust-Dunaisk are operating and handling ship calls via the River Danube and the Sulina Canal. ISPS Level 3 should be set.
- Diplomatic talks exploring possible maritime export corridors from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, are ongoing, but without conclusion.
3. World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO has issued on 17 June 2022, interim statements on the following and would reflect the current vaccine performance as of June 2022:
- Decision-making considerations for the use of variant updated COVID-19 vaccines; and
- The composition of current COVID-19 vaccines
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 (56) informing the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers are: 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.
Safety4Sea organised from 21 June to 23 June 2022, a “2022 crew welfare week: how to improve life at sea in the post pandemic shipping” where sessions were held exploring topics ranging from investment in crew welfare and initiatives, soft skills, mental health to seafarers’ rights to diversity & inclusion.
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 :
- Details about implementation measures imposed for sea transport
- Overview of challenges to crew mobility
- Overview of extensions and exceptions to seafarers’ certificates
- COVID-19 seafarers’ mental health
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