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, 21 May 2021.

1. IMO

  • Addendum no.40  to IMO circular no. 4204 "Coronavirus (COVID-19)" issued on 17 May 2021 relating to due diligence tool to support seafarers' human rights during the COViD-19 pandemic.
  • Addendum no.26/Rev.1 to the above-mentioned IMO circular issued on 19 May 2021 relating to guidance on the gradual and safe resumption of operations of cruise ships in the European Union in 
    relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 7  issued 20 May 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:

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  (42) 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 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 , 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


According to information from Williams provided by Westshore Shipbrokers, the following restrictions are in place in Brazil:

  • Crew change allowed under the following limitations:
    • Entry into Brazil for on-signers only by air
    • Crew with recent travel history to UK, Ireland, South Africa and India with the foregoing 14 days are restricted in entry
  • Negative PCR test is a requirement for entry
  • Positive result will impose 14 days quarantine on the vessel. Additional quarantine may be imposed if further results are positive.


The Italian government via an IMO circular letter no. 4231/Add.21 has informed that Italian local health authorities have been instructed to facilitate access for seafarers to the anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. 


By the kind courtesy of Pinto Basto, they have informed BIMCO that the following COVID-19 measures are in force from 17 May to 30th May 2021 

  • As per Ministry Council Resolution no. 4957-A/2021, the following are the present restrictions in force relating to entry into and leaving Portugal:  
    • Flights within EU and within Schengen Space and GB are authorized, being allowed all voyages. Passengers should only be allowed to board the plane after presenting the negative result of PCR test performed within 72 hrs prior to boarding plane

    • All flights with other origins/destinations exclusively allowed if strictly necessary and reasoned and if not suspended by the Portuguese Government. Professional activities are included on such authorization.

    • Authorized flights to Portugal with passengers coming from, or originated from, countries with outbreak rate over 500 cases per 100 000 citizens over the last 14 days as per information given by European Centre for Disease Control, allowed only for strictly essential voyages and must board the plane after presenting the negative result of PCR test performed within 72 hrs prior to boarding plane.  Passengers will be placed under prophylactic confinement for 14 days in a place indicated by health authorities. Presently,the list of these countries are:

     Brazil, Cyprus, Croatia, India, Lithuania, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden

    • All passengers arriving from countries, in which epidemiological situation is complying with EU Recommendation no. 2020/912 of European Council and respective updates allowed only for strictly necessary voyages and must board the plane after presenting the negative result of PCR test performed within 72 hrs prior to boarding plane. Presently, list of these countries are:

     Australia, China, South Korea, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau.

    • Foreign citizens arriving to Portugal without showing the PCR test performed, should have their entry in Portugal denied.
  • For cruise vessels, the Portuguese Government has the following measures as per Ministry Council Resolution no. 4957-B/2021:  
    • To allow embarkation, disembarkation and licenses to go ashore for passengers and crew members of cruise ships in all Portuguese ports, with exceptions for passengers with origin and destination, from and to, countries which only allows strictly necessary/essential voyages.

    • The authorization for embarkation, disembarkation and licenses to go ashore - referred above - will be exclusively allowed with presentation of PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection with negative result and performed within 72 hrs prior leaving, embarking or disembarking the cruise ship. 

    • PCR test obligation is not applicable to Children under 2 years of age.  


The MPA issued the following PMC circulars: 

    • PMC no. 19/2021 dated 15 May 2021 relates to requirements for ships arriving in the port of Singapore where all operations (e.g. cargo operations, bunkering, ship’s supplies and stores, and other marine services) are carried out contactless or contactless with segregation protocol set out in the said circular. Primarily  the former applies to no boarding other than MPA-licensed harbour pilots, authorised government officers and any approved MPA person and the latter implementing the segregation protocol to ensure minimum contact with the ship's crew and shore-based personnel. Note that for shore-based personnel on rostered routine testing (RRT) programme, they must be on 7-day RRT regardless of vaccination status. In addition, they must comply with having a valid COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within the last 7 days as part of the RRT before boarding the vessel. The changes are reflected in Annex D of the circular.
    • PMC no.20/2021 dated 15 May 2021 relates to requirements for ships arriving from the following countries with sustained increase in COVID-19 cases where declaration and submission must be made with respect to crew's status and boarding of shore-based personnel respectively.  
       List of countries with sustained increase in COVID-19 cases :
      1. Bangladesh 
      2. India 
      3. Pakistan 
      4. Sri Lanka 
    • Both circulars mentioned must be read together for compliance. 


The US Coast Guard has issued MSIB 07-21 focusing on the mental health of mariners, seeking to assure mariners that seeking mental health care will not jeopardise a mariner's medical certification and encourage mariners who are in need of mental health care to do so without fear of reprisal or punishment from the USCG. If go untreated, this could put not only oneself at risk, but also the safety of other crew members and impacting the ship's operations at sea at risk. There is also confidential survey relating to this topic and USCG is encouraging all mariners to participate in this survey. 


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


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

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VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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