BIMCO COVID19 Weekly Report – 10 December 2021

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This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 10 December covers the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine, USA 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, WHO and International Labour Organization (ILO).

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.

WHO has on the 9 December 2021,  issued interim recommendations for the use of Janssen Ad26.COV2.S (‎COVID-19)‎ vaccine. The vaccine is also known as the Johnson & Johnson’s/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. it is acceptable to co-administer Ad26.COV2.S with an inactivated influenza vaccine. This recommendation was developed based on the advice given by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE).

Government States

Brazil

According to a translation of ordinance 660/21 provided by the Brazilian general consulate in London, authorisation to persons with recent travel history within the past 14 days to the below list of countries and flights originating from or transiting the below list to travel to Brazil is suspended temporarily:

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

Canada

Please note that SSB No. 17/2021 in respect of measures for persons ( other than passengers) to mitigate COVID-19 spread on Canadian and foreign passenger ships operating in Canadian waters issued on 1 November has been modified on 30 November. In addition to the requirement effective 15 November 2021, all persons, aside from passengers, who wish to board a vessel, will be required to show evidence showing receipt of their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the testing requirements needed; starting 24 January 24, 2022, they will be required to have evidence demonstrating that they received the recommended number of doses, or the acceptable combination of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, at least 14 days prior to boarding.

Hong Kong, SAR

According to information provided by the government in Hong Kong, persons with recent travel history to the following countries within 21 days prior to arriving in Hong Kong are subject to enhanced quarantine and surveillance measures – though it is not specified, what this encompasses:

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

Germany

According to information provided by the Government of Germany, the list of countries with travel restrictions have been limited to either High-Risk countries/areas and areas of variants of concern. The following countries are considered areas of variants of concern:

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

Travellers from an area of variants of concern are subject to the following restrictions:

  • Before departure, please be prepared for your carrier (e.g. airline) to require from you an up-to-date PCR test if you spent time in an area of variants of concern at any time in the ten days prior to entry.
  • After your arrival, further PCR testing may be ordered by the health authorities at the airport or at the place of isolation/quarantine.
  • Please be aware of the 14-day quarantine requirement, which also applies to vaccinated and recovered individuals.
  • The duration of the 14-day quarantine may not be shortened.

The extensive list of high-risk countries and areas of variants of concern can be located on the government’s website. A downloadable PDF in English can be found in top of the said page.

Greece

The Hellenic Maritime Administration via an IMO circular letter no 4241/Add.9 advised that a general validity of extension is granted till 30 June 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.

As a reminder, the entry requirements to Greece can be found on this link after Greece opened its borders on 14 May 2021.

India

In the wake of the outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant – Omicron, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has issued guidelines for international arrivals on 30 November 2021, taking into account the list of countries where additional measures will be undertaken upon arrival. For a quick overview, please see the Algorithm prepared by the Indian authorities.

The Indian Directorate General of Shipping issued DSG Circular No.27 of 2021  on 3 December 2021 advising that strict implementation of MoHFW’s travel advisory for international arrival should be adhered to as mentioned above.

Japan

From 2 December to 31 December 2021, as per emergency precautionary measures against Omicron variant of concern, new entry of foreign nationals and visa validity are suspended and quarantine measures for all cross-border travellers and returnees have been strengthened. According to the Japanese Shipping Association’s update issued on 7 December, the government has strongly requested shipping companies to minimize crew changes during December or rather not call in Japan unless it is cargo work.  As the Japanese authorities are closely monitoring the COVID-19/Omicron situation and updating measures constantly, BIMCO would advise that members follow closely the developments posted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Philippines

The Philippines’s Inter-Agency Taskforce (IATF)’s “Resolution no. 152” establishes entry procedures for foreign citizens arriving from countries not otherwise on the Red list and Filipino citizens arriving from Red list-countries which are as follows:

Foreign travellers arriving from countries not on the red list:

  • If fully vaccinated:
    • Pre-arrival PCR testing not sooner than 72 prior to departure from country of origin
    • Facility-based quarantine until testing at fifth day, with day of arrival being day one
    • Home quarantine until fourteenth day
  • If not fully vaccinated – i.e. unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or with unvalidated vaccination status
    • Pre-arrival PCR testing not sooner than 72 prior to departure from country of origin
    • Facility-based quarantine until testing at seventh day, with day of arrival being day one

Filipino citizens:

  • Entry only allowed through the following airports:
    • Ninoy Aquino International Airport
    • Clark International Airport
  • Test and quarantine regime as per Resolution no. 149-A

Singapore

MPA is reminding all owners, masters and agents that ships arriving in Singapore to ensure that all operations are carried out contactless or contactless with segregation protocol as per PMC no. 40/2021. MPA has also updated the list of NTL countries in PMC no. 45/2021 “Requirements for vessels arriving from NTL countries or signed on crew from NTL countries” .  For ease of reference, the NTL countries have now been expanded as follows:

List of NTL countries

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe
  • Ghana (new)
  • Nigeria (new)
  • Malawi (new)

Ukraine

Changes to the border crossing regime effective 3 December, where entry to Ukraine is prohibited for foreign nationals and stateless persons from the following countries until further notice:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibia
  • Lesotho
  • Esvatini
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi

There are exemptions to the above and one in particular ” foreign nationals and stateless persons if their arrival was confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine” which was not further elaborated.

Notwithstanding the above, it appears that “crew members ” are exempted as per information provided by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

For more information please refer to the Ministry of Health/press center

USA

The Presidential Proclamation declared on 25 October governing the entry into US of non-citizen immigrants by air where entry of unvaccinated non-citizen non-immigrants is suspended. However, this will not apply to any non- citizen seeking entry as a sea crew member traveling pursuant to a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa, if such crew member adheres to all industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19, as set forth in relevant guidance for crew member health by the CDC.

Presidential Proclamation declared on 26 November 2021 suspends entry into US, immigrants or non-immigrants, of non-citizens who were physically present in the following countries the last 14 days before entry due to the outbreak of Omicron variant:

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

Persons travelling on a C-1, D or C-1/D visa as crewmembers are explicitly excepted from the restrictions mentioned above.

However, with effect from 6 December,  all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the US.

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.

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.

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Source: BIMCO

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