BIMCO COVID 19 Weekly Report – 8th April 2022

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The BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 8 April covers the International Maritime Organization (IMO), China, Canada, India, Norway, Singapore, Ukraine, Port State Control, and the latest from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Every week, BIMCO summarizes measures imposed by governments for sea transport, including for crew change, as well as updates from United Nations bodies such as the IMO, WHO and the ILO.

IMO

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.

Government States

China

As the Chinese authorities have announced a major lockdown on Shanghai with port still in operation, this has however, impacted the shipping sector in terms of port congestion, delays and strains on the logistic supply of workers for the container hub operating at the port.  See Mærsk’s update on the current situation. Our Shanghai office reports as follows ” Shanghai port is still up and running although the whole city is buried with a city-wide lockdown. But the operational efficiency has been dragged significantly since all port staffs, stevedores and even pilots are required for various PCR tests, quarantine and something similar. As to liners, the lack of trucks and drivers are current and common challenges presently since the drivers have to be tested constantly for Covid. The crew change in Shanghai is extremely difficult for the time being.”

Canada

Transport Canada has announced via their Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) no. 08/2022 dated 30 March 2022,  that Ukrainian seafarers can now seek Canadian recognition/endorsement of their STCW certificates as a result of a reciprocal arrangement entered with Ukraine. The endorsement will apply for those certificates that are yet to expire and for those expired, the Canadian authorities will take into consideration, IMO circular letter no.4232/add.16. for determining the period of applicability of the Canadian endorsement. How to apply and the documents required in connection with the application are all available in the said SSB.

Effective 1 April, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by land, air or water. For partially or unvaccinated travellers entering Canada, pre-entry testing requirements still apply. In this connection, an interim Order No. 3 “Respecting Vessel Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” outlining vaccination and testing requirements for crew, guests and visitors on passenger ships was issued on 31 March 2022 effective 1 April 2022.  The interim order applies mostly to Canadian ships and cruise ships, Canadian or foreign. Transport Canada has issued an information document to assist with some Q&As that were raised. Canada Ship Safety Bulletin No 6/2022 for international crew changes still stands.

India

According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News,  the Indian Directorate General of Shipping has issued Order No. 13, which withdraws all COVID-19 related directives and SOPs issued by the Directorate General of Shipping with immediate effect.

Measures regulated by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare may still be in place.

Norway

According to Information provided by the Norwegian Maritime Authority,  the following certificates can exceptionally be extended due to COVID-19:

  • Certificates of Competency (CoC) and Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) can be extended up to 30 months if the theoretical part of the necessary update course are completed via e-learning
  • Endorsement of foreign certificates
  • Certificate of Receipt of Application (CRA)
  • Norwegian medical certificates

Singapore

The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has issued revised requirements for crew change on 30 March via Port Marine circular ( PMC) no. 6 /2022. This circular supersedes PMC no.3/2022. The change is effective from 1 April 2022.

A summary of the revised and updated requirements as provided below, but please read the PMC no.6/2022 for full guidance:

  • Fully vaccinated crew do not need to submit any application through the MPA crew change system. Proceed directly to apply via ICA ( Immigration & Checkpoints Authority) Crew System using DigitalPort@SG. For more information, please click on Checklist for Fully Vaccinated Travellers;
  • Only NON-VACCINATED crew change applications must be submitted to MPA in advance of the planned crew change;
  • Please click link here for list of accepted COVID-19 vaccinations;
  • Note that non-vaccinated crew must do Stay-Home-Notice ( SHN); and
  • Note also that fully vaccinated crew SHALL NOT CARRY OUT any PCR test onboard without MPA’s approval. To enter Singapore under vaccinated travel framework, the fully vaccinated crew must have a PCR test within 2 days before entering Singapore. It can be either PCR/ART done at last port (within 2 days) or a telemed supervised ART done by approved doctor in Singapore. Once the fully vaccinated crew is in Singapore, he/she can go to any clinic for PCR test. MPA’s advice to companies: sign off the fully vaccinated crew first before going for PCR test at any clinic.

Signing-on crew requirements as follows:

 Signing-off crew requirements as follows: 

Ukraine

The Ukrainian government making their stand, via an IMO circular letter no. 4544 dated 31 March 2022, that they have not negotiated nor was it approved by the IMO pertaining to the unilateral establishment of a “blue safe maritime corridor” by the Russian Federation allowing for safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from Ukrainian seaports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. On the contrary, the preconditions for safe evacuation of ships are outlined in the decisions made at the IMO Council’s 35 Extraordinary meeting held on 10 and 11 March as well as at the IMO’s 109 meeting of the Legal Committee. For more info, check out the IMO “In Focus” on “ Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov“.

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. 

See also BIMCO Port State Control Regimes- MOU 

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

According to GISIS today, the list of countries (55) 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) (new),  the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium Brazil, Canada, Chile (new),  Cook Islands, Costa Rica Cyprus, Dominica, Ecuador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-BissauGreece, India, Indonesia, IrelandIsrael, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco (new),  Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore , Sint Maarten ( Kingdom of the Netherlands) (new),  Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand , Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

ILO

The International Labour Organization  (ILO) issued the following on maritime labour issues and COVID-19:

World Health Organization (WHO)

On 21 January 2022,  WHO issued an updated global technical brief and priority action required for Member states to enhance readiness for Omicron ( B.1.1.529), of which WHO has given an overview.  The overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons (eg significant growth advantage over Delta leading to rapid spread in the community) and continuing to result in significant increases in hospitalisation as well as posing overwhelming demands on health care systems in most countries.

The rise is also due to evidence indicating immune evasion causing the quick spread of Omicron and research efforts are ongoing to better understand Omicron’s escape potential against vaccine- and infection induced immunity.  A risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner is recommended and efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage as rapidly as possible should continue. See WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant for additional information.

Please see BIMCO-WHO for more information.

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Source: BIMCO

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