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, 23 December 2020

1. IMO 

IMO has issued the following circulars:

  •  Circ. 4204/add. 35 providing a consolidated list of the IMO members, that have so far notified IMO of their designation of seafarers as key workers.
  • Circ. 4204/add. 36 relating to "No crew change" clauses in charterparties, calling upon all charterers to refrain from requesting to include such clauses in charterparties, and shipowners and operators to reject them if they are demanded. Alternative contractual clauses that allow for crew changes during the pandemic are available and should be utilized.

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

3. Government States  

The Government of Azerbaijan provides further extensions to seafarers documents (ref: IMO circular letter no. 4223/Add.3). The following may be extended until 31 March 2021:

  • Validity of certificates
  • Endorsements for recognition of certificates issued by other Governments
  • Seafarers Identity Documents under the terms of ILO convention no. 185

Brazil has eased the requirements to Seafarer's identity documents allowing documents issued under the terms of the ILO convention no. 108 until 15 June 2021. The scope is limited to signatory states to the ILO Convention no. 185.

The Commonwealth of Dominica via their Policy Letter 02-20 issued on 15 December 2020 (via IMO circular letter no. 4361 dated 17 December 2020) , advising that all seafarers are designated key workers and allowing for crew changes. 

The Directorate General of Shipping in India issued an amendment to DGS order no. 4 effectively suspending the 14 -day quarantine measures for disembarking seafarers.

Further details available in the linked implementation page

The Government of Montenegro has informed the IMO of extensions given to seafarers' STCW certificates till 2 October 2025 (ref: IMO circular letter no. 4244/Add.2).

The Philippines establishes a crew change hub in Batangas and provides standard protocols for crew change in the Philippines for both domestic and foreign nationals.

Singapore has released Port Marine Circular 46/2020 suspending sign-on crew meeting based on either one of the following criteria:

  • Travel history to the UK within the previous 14 days
  • Transited UK on connecting flights to Singapore

The Turkish Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Directorate General for Maritime Affairs has granted a further extension till 31 March 2021 to certificates of seafarers (see IMO circular letter no. 4245/add.5). 

Through IMO circ. 4232/add. 8, the Government of Ukraine informs of measures taken concerning extension of seafarers documents.

Several countries have suspended traffic to and from the United Kingdom.


  • BIMCO has been approached by Mental Health Support Solutions offering all BIMCO members, free use of their mental health hotline during Christmas and the New Year festive season. Additional details are available here.

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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