This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 28 January covers the World Health Organization (WHO), Bangladesh, Brazil, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Oman, Philippines, Togo, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the latest from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as reported by BIMCO.
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 and International Labour Organization (ILO).
1. 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.
2. Government States
According to information from Lachmann Port News dated 21 January and provided to BIMCO by Westshore Shipbrokers, the Federal Government published an ordinance that ends restrictions on entry into Brazil for travellers coming from Africa. Travelling through South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe no longer hinders one to enter Brazil, so long as crew members have a valid RT-PCR test with a negative result performed a maximum of 72 hours before departure, or the negative antigen performed a maximum of 24 hours before departure. Having a valid vaccination card and filling in the Travellers’ Health Declaration (DSV) is now mandatory. For further information please visit the Consulate-General of Brazil in Los Angeles.
According to GAC Hot Port News, Denmark has lifted some restrictions on Covid-19, but measures remain for travellers entering the country. If one is previously infected or vaccinated one may enter Denmark without testing and isolation. Unvaccinated and never infected travellers must be tested within 24 hours of entry, if one fail to show a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours before departure or a PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure. Travellers from Covid-19 risk countries must take a test and isolate upon arrival. If entering from a COVID-19 high-risk country, travellers must self-isolate for 10 days and take a test within 24 hours of entry, if a negative PCR test taken at the earliest on the sixth day is shown, one may leave isolation.
All countries that are not EU/Schengen-countries or mentioned on Denmark’s list of COVID-19 risk countries are considered COVID-19 high-risk countries. If entering from a COVID-19 high-risk country, travellers must self-isolate for 10 days without undue delay and take a test within 24 hours of entry. They may end the isolation with a negative PCR test taken at the earliest on the sixth day after entry. Seafarers are exempt from the isolation requirement.
According to GAC Hot Port News, in the port “Reliance Terminal Sikka” new restrictions will take effect. As has become the custom, one must provide a negative covid-19 test taken a maximum of 72 hours before departure. Second, vetting inspector, class surveyor, cargo expeditor and superintendent are now prohibited from entering any vessel. In continuation of this, service engineers may only visit at anchorage and after completion of cargo operations.
All signing-on and -off clearance must be sought on mail. For jetty vessels, signing-on and -off must be done after vessel berthing and screening. Further, signing-on and -off at SPM must be done after cargo operation has been completed and after the vessel has cast off.
According to GAC Hot Port News, all vessels leaving the Deendayal port limits for any reason, must obtain Port Clearance from Customs and No Dues Certificate (NDC) from the port, before leaving port limits.
Upon re-entering the port limits any vessel will be treated as a fresh voyage, which means the concerned agents must provide a fresh number, carry out all the formalities as well as making the payments considering the re-entry as a fresh voyage.
If a vessel re-enters the port limits, it will be treated as a fresh voyage and the concerned agents will have to obtain a fresh number and carry out all the formalities and make the payments considering the re-entry as a fresh voyage.
According to GAC Hot Port News, any crew signing-on from Indonesia, even if vaccinated, must stay isolated for five consecutive days, during these days a PCR test, must be taken upon arrival and on the fourth day of isolation. Both tests must be negative.
The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives has issue a marine circular INT-2022/001 issued designating seafarers as “key workers” and facilitating crew change as well as prioritising seafarers’ vaccination. Full details are available via an IMO circular letter no. 4256/Add.1.
According to GAC Hot Port News, the Omani Government are restricting entry of all non-vaccinated visitors.
Fully vaccinated crewmembers carrying, a clear passport copy, a clear seaman book copy, a passport size photo, and a clear copy of COVID vaccination certificate, can disembark at Oman without any restrictions. If one is unvaccinated, one can still disembark but must agree to have at least one dose of vaccination in Oman.
Oman has banned entry of travellers and transit from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique 14 days after the outbreak of new coronavirus variant in these countries.
For further information visit the Oman’s Ministry of Health
According to GAC Hot Port New, from 1 February 2022, all people allowed entry to the Philippines will have their entry, testing, and quarantine protocols done in the following way:
- All travellers must present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. Upon arrival travellers shall self-monitor for any sign or symptom for 7 days with the first day being the date of arrival, in case of symptoms one must contact the local government. Further, one must have the following proofs of vaccination, World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, VaxCertPH or national/state digital certificate of the foreign government and VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement.
- Any unvaccinated shall be required to present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. Additionally, they shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until a negative PCR test taken on the fifth day is shown. After which, they shall be required to undergo a 14 day home quarantine from the date of arrival.
For more information visit the Philippines Department of Health
The government of Ukraine has advised, via an IMO circular letter no. 4232/Add.15 of the following Covid 19 measures:
- Ship surveys, audits or inspections – requests for extension/postponement under force majeure or unforeseen exceptional circumstances will be considered on a-case-by-case basis.
- Validity of seafarer’s CoC and CoP certificates including SEA – extended till 30 June 2022 for those onboard ships and their certificates have expired on or after 1st March 2020.
- Validity of seafarer’s CoC and CoP certificates including SEA – extended till 30 June 2022 or one contract, whichever is later, from the date of expiry for those currently ashore and their certificates have expired on or after 1st January 2021.
- Medical certificates of seafarers onboard ships – expired medical certificates allowed for maximum of three months.
- Seafarer’s identity document – extended to 30 June 2022 for those onboard ships and their document has expired on or after 1 March 2020.
- Seafarer’s identity document and medical certificates to be revalidated for those seafarers ashore with these documents that have expired or about to expire.
Please read the circular for full guidance.
Via an IMO circular letter no 4283/Add.5, the Vanuatu government, in relation to COVID-19, issued revised policies on the 26 January pertaining to the following matters:
- Seafarers’ Employment Agreement (SEA), which may be extended until 30 June 2022.
- Seafarers’ Documentation, with extension granted (no mention of period of extension) and to 31 March 2022 for STCW medical certificates.
- ISM/ISPS/MLC Verifications – postponement possible for audits due by 31 December 2021 to a period of not more than 90 days from due date.
- Acceptable copies of Certificates and Documents in Electronic Format
- Surveys – requests to extend surveys or remote surveys possible.
3. IMO Crew Change – National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers
According to GISIS today, the list of countries (48) 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, Ecuador ( new) Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco ( new) 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.
There is no news issued under the section for this week.
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.
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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