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, 7 May 2021.

1. IMO

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 6  issued 23 April 2021 provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers. The list is shown below: 

  • MSC.1/Circ.1636/Rev.1 issued on 22 April 2021 relating to Industry recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The circular has been revised to take into account of issues relevant to the global rollout of vaccines and the critical part they will play in facilitating ships' crew changes and the efficient movement of world trade. 


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

As per our BIMCO news of 12th April, the IMO has discontinued the issue of the IMO circular in series: MSC.7/circ. 1 relating to government states informing the IMO of their national focal point for crew change and repatriation of seafarers. Instead, the IMO's online Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) will be used to contain such information. 

According to GISIS today, the list of countries 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 (new),  Brazil, Canada, the Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand (new), Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

Earlier reference of the MSC.7/circ.1 : our implementation page.

3. Government States


The Indian Maritime Authorities has issued Directorate General of Shipping Order No.16 on extension of seafarer's Certificate of Competency and Certificate of Proficiency to 31 December 2021 subject to conditions mentioned therein. Order is valid till 31 July 2021 and is also applicable for seafarers joining ships on/prior to that date.     


The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued the following port marine circulars (PMC) yesterday: 

1. PMC no. 14/2021 "crew change for cargo ships in the Port of Singapore " : this is the latest circular on updated crew requirements superseding MPC no.10/2021. 

A summary of the revised and updated requirements as provided below but please read the circular for full guidance: 

Signing-on crew requirements as follows:

  • Crew member is not required to do the official 21-day Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) quarantine ( previously it was 14 days)  or do a shorter SHN of 7-day quarantine if the crew member comes from an originating country/region appearing in MOH's list of countries considered as low risk. Otherwise all signing-on crew are required to serve the official SHN of 21 days in the originating country/region. Please refer to MOH’s website  for the latest list of low risk countries/regions.
  • All crew must be certified fit-to-travel by doctor in originating country not more than 24 hours prior to departure flight and arrive in Singapore to join the ship not more than 2 days before ship's departure from Singapore. Crew can only join the ship in Singapore after all high-risk shore-based personnel have completed their work on board and disembarked the ship.
  • Crew must also have obtained a negative COVID-19 test result not more than 72 hours prior to the departure flight for Singapore. The test must be a polymerase chain reaction (PCR type) taken at a government -approved or ISO 151189-accredited testing facility .
  • If crew member was previously tested COVID-19 positive and recovered, that crew member must submit documentary proof of past diagnosis based on the earliest positive PCR test result. Note however that if the date of the PCR test is 21 days or fewer before date of Singapore arrival, that crew member will not be approved for crew change.

  More than 21 days before arrival in Singapore, that crew member shall comply with the rest of the sign-on requirements (new).

  • The entire crew changing process including the journey to Singapore must have no more than 5 persons in a group and no interactions between these groups. 

Signing-off crew requirements as follows: 

  • Certified fit-to-travel by doctor in Singapore not more than 24 hours before disembarking the ship; and 
  • has not gone ashore in the last 21 days before disembarking and has remained well and not had contact with any known or suspect case of COVID-19 throughout that period. 
  • Crew subjected to serology test shall remain onboard until production of a negative COVID-19 serology test result.
    • The crew must refrain from interacting with shore-based personnel at previous ports of call in the last 21 days. (new)
    • Where sign-off crew requires a COVID-19 pre-departure test (PDT) before departing Singapore, that sign-off crew that require PDT in Singapore shall produce a negative test result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken at the vessel’s last port of call before Singapore provided no crew change has been carried out in the last 21 days before the vessel’s last port of call. The test results shall be submitted to MPA as soon as they are available and before the vessel arrives in Singapore. If there were a crew change conducted in the last 21 days before the vessel's last port of call, all crew on board shall produce a negative test result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken at the vessel's last port of call before Singapore.  As MPA will facilitate pre-departure COVID-19 PCR testing for sign-off crew, please refer to paragraphs 14-17 for full details. 
    • New information for agents handling sign-off crew requiring COVID-19 pre-departure test.

General Information

  • Sign-on and sign-off crew may stay at designated holding facilities for up to 72 hours. Ship owners/managers/agents must apply for crew change in Singapore, at least 21 days before the planned crew change, by filling up the online form or scan the QR Code embedded in the said circular. The 14 days application can be shortened to 7 days if the sign-on crew is part of the CrewSafe accredited facility programme.
  • All crew that utilises Marina South Pier (MSP) or West Coast Pier (WCP) shall remain at the designated holding areas while waiting to clear immigration ( paragraphs 7 - 9)
  • Precautionary measures for service providers facilitating crew change - please refer to paragraphs 10 -12 for full details.
  • Any queries relating to this circular should be directed to
  • Singapore Crew Change Guidebook ( new) 

2. PMC no. 15/2021  prohibiting crew with recent travel history to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka within the last 21 days preceding arrival to Singapore to be allowed as part of the crew change. This includes sign-on crew travelling to Singapore by flight as well as sign-off crew from vessels that have called at Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan  and Sri Lanka. No crew change as well for sign-on crew transiting Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on their connecting flights to Singapore. This is effective today, i.e., 7 May 2021. Important that this is read in conjunction with PMC no.14/2021. This circular supersedes PMC no.2, 12 and 13 of 2021 circulars.

3PMC no. 16/2021 superseding PMC 47/2020 updating the number of persons allowed onboard pleasure craft from 8 May to 30 May 2021 subject to the conditions stipulated therein.  


  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published updated COVID-19 guidelines related to cruise ships and easing mask requirements for vaccinated people outdoors. It is to be noted that the US Coast Guard MISB 02-21 Change 1 remains the most current guidance, meaning that in line with the latest CDC guidelines, there is no change related to the requirements for wearing a mask on commercial vessels and all travelers, including vaccinated ones,  are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation and at transportation hubs. Additional guidance can be found at the Coast Guard FAQ web page.'
  • For cruise ships seeking to resume operation within US ports, the US Coast Guard has just issued Policy letter 21-02 "Foreign Passenger Vessel Examination COVID-19 Guidance" where requirements are required to be satisfied like crew proficiency evaluation prior to resuming such operations notwithstanding the guidance is intended for the cruise ship center of expertise and officers.   

4. Others 

There is no news issued under this section.


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


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