BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report


The BIMCO Maritime Information department informs members on a weekly basis, updates about the COVID-19 in relation to implementation measures imposed by governments for sea transport including for crew change as well as from the United Nation bodies like the International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO).

BIMCO provides the following update for this week ending Friday, 15 January 2021

1. IMO

IMO has issued the following circular:

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 2 issued on 12 January 2021 provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers. The full list is available on the implementation page 

2. IMO Crew Change - National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers

As of today, the countries that have informed the IMO of the above are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu.

Reference: MSC.7/circ.1/Rev.19

Additional details available on our implementation page.

3. Government States


Following a request by France, the IMO circulated IMO circ. 4234/add. 7, which provides for extension of a variety of certificates:

  • Ships' certificates may be extended up to six months after the expiry of the state health emergency ending 10 July, 2020
  • Flag endorsements and COP's may be extended up to six months after the expiry of the state health emergency ending 10 July, 2020
  • STCW certificates may be extended up to the expiry of the state health emergency ending 16 February, 2021
  • Medical certificates may be extended up to the expiry of the state health emergency ending 16 February, 2021

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Government has issued G.N. (E.) 275 of 2020 supporting the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation. Effective from 25 December 2020, all passengers with travel history exceeding 2 hours within the previous 21 days to the UK or South Africa, and all ships with port calls to the UK or South Africa within the previous 21 days, are prohibited from entering or berthing in Hong Kong.


The Italian Coastguard has on 12 January 2021,  circulated provisions to postpone dry docking, should it prove impossible subject to satisfactory in-water bottom survey conducted.


The Government of Kiribati issued Marine Notice 1/2020 through the IMO circ. 4299/add. 3, informing of an extension of the border's closures until 28 February. Meanwhile MN 4/2020 remains in force extending the validity of certificates until April 2021.


On 7 January, the Department of Transportation issued an updated list of identified countries. If a foreign seafarer has a recent travel history to the identified countries, entry to the Philippines is prohibited, while Filipino seafarers with recent travel history to the identified countries are subject to quarantine restrictions.

The circular has since been updated several times - most lately 12 January.

Additional details and the full list are provided on our implementation page


Through IMO circ. 4237/add. 18, Russia has shared provisions on the extension of certificates for 3 months should the certificates expire before the 1 April.


The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) announced on 11 January, the following enhanced crew change procedure effective as of the same date, of which punitive measure will be taken for non-compliance: 

Sea launch transfer for ship crew

  • All agents/owners shall charter the entire launch boat when performing crew change. There shall be no other personnel taking the same launch boat with the sign on/sign off crew. 
  • Crew shall remain in the vehicle/transport until the launch boat(s) is/are ready for boarding. Crew shall not be loitering at the pier for the launch boat. 

Required personal protective equipment for personnel facilitating crew change

To further safeguard the Singapore local community against the spread of COVID-19 from 'outside', service providers and personnel that facilitate crew change in Singapore shall meet the minimum level of personal protective equipment (PPE) as prescribed below with effect from 12 January 2021:

  • Meet-and-greet staff shall don surgical mask and gloves when escorting crew at the airport.
  • Land transport drivers shall don full PPE (surgical mask, gloves, gown) when transporting crew between the airport and vessel.
  • Launch boat operators shall down full PPE (surgical mask, gloves, gown) when transporting crew between the pier and vessel.

A reminder: to maintain proper hand hygiene (i.e. washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub before and after removing PPE


MPA issued on 13 January 2021 for immediate compliance, new holding areas for crew change. For full details, refer to our Singapore implementation measures.

South Africa

The Transnet National Ports Authority - being the operator of the commercial ports in South Africa - has issued circular Notice 10 with safety measures for operating in South Africa. Importantly, the following operations are still allowed:

  • Crew change
  • Waste disposal
  • Boarding by stevedores, surveyors, technicans, etc.
  • Bunkering.

Further details on the safety measures are available in the said circular.


GAC Hot Port News reports that a negative test result is required not older than 72 hours before boarding a flight to USA.

For further details on additional countries, please refer to our implementation page.


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 :

You can also view all information on our COVID-19 landing page.

Ai Cheng Foo-Nielsen
in Copenhagen, DK


Access BIMCO's COVID-19 related articles and advice.

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