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, 26 March 2021

1. IMO

Circular letter no.4204/addendum no.38 issued on 25 March 2021 pertaining to a Joint-statement calling on all Governments to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers and aircrew.

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, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, 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, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu.

Reference: MSC.7/circ.1/Rev.24

Additional details available on our implementation page.

3. Government States


Transport Canada issued on 19 March,a Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) 04/2021 to replace SSB#21/2020 effective 1st April 2021. This SSB applies to Canadian seafarers and authorised representatives of Canadian-flagged ships and pertains, amongst others, to extensions to be provided to marine personnel certificates, certificates of competency, marine medical certificates and temporary measures for seafarers unable to obtain a discharge book. 


The Italian government in reviewing the current COVID-19 situation, updated instructions whereby the automatic three-month extension of the validity of statutory certificates will be withdrawn and to re-establish the previous inspection procedures for ships. However, the possibility of requesting for extensions as well as remote surveys is available provided certain procedures are followed. Full details are in the IMO circular no. 4231/Add.19


The Russian Ministry of Transport extends Certificates of Competence as well as the endorsements on recognition of certificates issued by another Government and other relevant STCW certificates for another 3 months. No additional entries in documents or issuance of new documents is required. Full details are available via an IMO circular letter no. 4237/Add.19. 


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has issued updated crew change requirements in their most recent circular port marine circular (PMC) no. 10/2021, replacing PMC nos. 26, 27 of 2020; and no. 5 and 7 of 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 no longer be required to do the 14-day quarantine or do only a 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 14-day Stay-Home -Notice (SHN) 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, 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. Further guidelines on effects of timing of positive PCR test result taken are given below: 
  •  If the date of the positive PCR test result is between 22 to 180 days before the date of arrival in Singapore, the recovered crew need not serve the SHN at his/her originating country/region nor take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure for Singapore. If he/she develops symptoms prior to departing for Singapore, he/she must be tested for COVID-19.
  • If the positive PCR test result is more than 180 days before the date of arrival in Singapore, he/she must serve a 14-day SHN at his/her originating country and take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure for Singapore.
  • The crew changing process to 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.

MPA will facilitate pre-departure COVID-19 PCR testing for sign-off crew. Please refer to paragraphs 15-17 for full details. 

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 14 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

United Kingdom

According to information provided by the UK Department of Transport, seafarers are exempted from the following general measures:

  • Testing before arrival and second and eighth day after arrival
  • Quarantine if arriving from a Red list country

The seafarer shall present documentation of their status, e.g., Seafarer's Identification Document.


The US Coast Guard issued a "Change-1" to the Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 02-21 on COVID-19 Safety Requirements in the Maritime Transportation System  to reflect the inclusion of sea ports, providing additional information on applicability for mask wear in the marine transportation system and links to Coast Guard and CDC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages. 


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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