BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report -countries imposing temporary crew change restrictions due to COVID-19 mutation virus


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, 8 January 2021

1. IMO

IMO has issued the following circulars:

  • Addendum no. 37 issued on 22 December 2020 with a resume from the third video meeting for Port State Control (PSC) regimes on harmonized actions at the time of pandemic of COVID-19

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 1 issued on 23 December 2020 provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers

  • Addendum no. 36/rev.1 issued on 23 December 2020. Addendum no.36, which was  issued on 18 December 2020 relating to " No crew change" clauses in charter parties, calling upon all charterers to refrain from requesting to include such clauses in charter parties, 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.  BIMCO believes the only significant change made in this revised circular is changing "46 Member States" to "48 Member States" in the 2nd paragraph of the circular

Additional details in our 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 in our implementation page.

3. Government States


Through  the IMO Circ. 4240/add. 4, the Egyptian Ministry of Transport advises of the requirement of a negative PCR test result prior to arrival.


A resume of the measures as follows, taken by the German flag to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 (provided by the IMO Circ. 4235/add. 6):

  • Inspections is limited to exceptional cases
  • Extension to ship certificates may be provided
  • Seafarers' certificates may be extended up to 6 months


Through the IMO circ. 4241/add. 4, the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy has provided for the following extensions:

  • Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency may be extended 6 months
  • Ship certificates may be extended provided a remote survey is conducted


Indonesian authorities has provided the following circulars:

  • Circular letter 4/2020, suspending all immigration temporarily until 14 January
  • IMO circ. 4268/add. 2, providing a crew change protocol for the following ports:
    • Belawan
    • Tanjung Balai Karimun
    • Batam
    • Merak
    • Tanjung Priok
    • Tanjung Perak
    • Makasssar
    • Benoa
    • Sorong
    • Ambon
    • Bitung


The Italian government and coast guard has forwarded two circulars through the IMO:

  • IMO Circ. 4231/add. 13, which allows for an unlimited extension of the following COPs until disembarkation:
    • Basic Training
    • Survival Craft and Rescue Boat
    • Fast Rescue Boat
    • Advanced Firefighting
  • IMO Circ. 4231/add. 14, which allows for an unlimited extension of COCs until disembarkation


The Japanese Ministry of Justice has circulated measures to mitigate the impact of the B117 variant of COVID19 which emerged in UK in December. All entry by foreigners are prohibited - though GAC Hot Port News reports that seafarers are exempted from these restrictions. 

Persons with travel history to UK and South Africa are explicitly prohibited from entry.


Through the IMO circ. 4237/add.17 , the Philippines Maritime Industry Authority has provided the following:

  • Extension of STCW certificates for onboard and ashore Filipino seafarers
  • Provisions for expedited re-validation of expired certificates

On 4 January 2021, the Philippines Ports Authority announced restrictions on crew change for persons originating from or with recent travel history to several countries impacted by a new strain of coronavirus originating in the UK. The full list is provided in our implementation page


The Romanian Naval Authority has communicated through the IMO circ. 4234/add. 6, the following certificate extensions until 1 April 2021, should the certificate expire during sea service:

  • Certificate of Competency and Certificate of Proficiency
  • Medical certificate and seaman's book
  • Endorsements issued by the Romanian Naval Authority


The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority issued the following circulars: 

  • PMC no. 47/2020  in relation to the revision of the number of persons onboard pleasure crafts. This circular supersedes PMC 37 of 2020.
  • PMC no.02 of 2021 announcing that no entry will be allowed into Singapore for all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to South Africa within the last 14 days including transit through Singapore in addition to UK as per PMC 46 of 2020 aforementioned and supersedes that said circular. PMC no.02/2021 must be read in conjunction with PMC 42 of 2020

The Singapore Shipping Association has urged the maritime industry to comply with health protocols following a case of transmission between ship and shore.


Sweden has provided for additional extensions to seafarers' document and certificates through the IMO circ. 4245/add.6.


The Turkish Ministry of Transport and infrastructure has provided a protocol for crew change in Turkey through the IMO circ. 4245/add. 7.


The government of Vanuatu has issued a consolidation of the current policies regarding measures related to COVID19. These policies concern the following:

  • Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA), which may be extended until 30 June, 2021
  • Seafarers Documentation 
  • ISM/ISPS/MLC Verifications
  • Copies of Certificates and Documents in Electronic Format
  • Surveys

Additional details on more countries in 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


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