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, 9th July 2021.
The below circulars represent the latest information to-date from the IMO.
Addendum no.41 to IMO circular no. 4204 "Coronavirus (COVID-19)" issued on 18 May 2021 relating to the roadmap for vaccination of international seafarers.
- 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 (44) 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, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, 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
The Egyptian Ministry of Transport announced the following measure effective 23 July 2021 via an IMO circular letter no. 4240/Add.6 :
- Passengers and crews arriving from countries affected by the mutant COVID variant such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Brazil and Latin America must come with COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued 14 days before arrival and COVID-19 tests will be performed and the vaccination certificates with must-QR Code checked.
- Others arriving from the non-affected countries are not subject to the COVID-19 tests but presentation of vaccination certificates issued 14 days prior to arrival required.
- Those without vaccination certificates, reference is to be made to IMO circ. 4240/add. 4, where the government advises that a PCR swap test is required for seafarers to enter the country. This test will either be done not sooner than 72 hours prior to arrival or upon arrival. If arriving by sea, the Egyptian health authorities will do the test. Disembarkation is prohibited until a negative result is presented.
Extension of the validity of STCW and STCW-F certificates and documentary evidence for seafarers extended to no later than 1 October 2021 and no later than 31 December 2021 depending on the dates of expiration. Refer to IMO circular letter no. 4234/Add.11 for full details provided by the French Directorate for Maritime Affairs. Note that for medical certificates, no further extensions apply and the provisions provided via IMO circular letter no. 4234/Add.9 remain applicable.
According to information provided to BIMCO, lock-down is implemented in parts of Indonesia, which will affect visa applications. Meanwhile, according to information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, entry into Indonesia is still allowed under the provisions outlined in SE-08/2021 (unofficial English translation), which in turn has a limited scope with reference to Regulation of the Minister of Law and Human Rights Number 26 of 2020, which effectively limits entry to special categories including limited visas for persons "joining to work on ships, floating equipment, or installations operating in the territorial waters of the archipelago, territorial sea, or continental shelf, as well as the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone".
While these provisions may prohibit the entry of crew in order to perform crew change, Indonesia has communicated crew change protocols through an IMO circ. 4268/add. 2, which was released after the above mentioned regulation from the Minister of Law and Human Rights.
Crew change operations may be obstructed by these conflicting circulars.
The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore issued today, port marine circular (PMC) no 30/2021 on " Crew change for Cargo Ships in the Port of Singapore" superseding PMC no. 14/2021.
A summary of the revised and updated requirements is 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 14-day Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) quarantine ( previously it was 21 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 14 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 and have a negative result from an ART (Antigen Rapid Test)(new and applicable for sign-on crew departing his/her originating country on or after 26 July 2021) 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. If tested positive, crew shall not take further ARTs to obtain negative result. A PCR test must follow ( new).
- Crew must also have obtained a negative COVID-19 test result not more than 48 hours ( previously it was 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.
- 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.
- During the entire crew change process, the crew shall not be in a group of more than 5 persons and no interactions between the groups (new).
- Sign-on and sign-off crew may stay at designated holding facilities for up to 24 hours ( previously it was 72 hours). However, sign-on crew who had undergone the CrewSafe protocol may stay up to 3 days if required (previously it was 5 days). Ship owners/managers/agents must apply for crew change in Singapore, at least 14 days ( previously it was 21 days) before the planned crew change, by filling up the online form atwww.mpa.gov.sg/web/portal/home/port-ofsingapore/operations/crew-change 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 utilise Marina South Pier (MSP) or West Coast Pier (WCP) shall remain at the designated holding areas while waiting to clear immigration ( paragraphs 8 - 10).
- Precautionary measures for service providers facilitating crew change - please refer to paragraphs 11 -14 for full details. Note however new precautionary measures whereby land transport driver and launch boat operator shall be on 7 days RRT (roster routine testing) and vaccinated at least one shot and land transport drivers and launch boat operators shall keep all windows open when ferrying sign on/off crew, as far as practicable. They should maintain safe distancing and shall not handle the crew’s belonging at any time.
- 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 15-18 for full details.
- Any queries relating to this circular should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Singapore Crew Change Guidebook
The UK P&I club has issued Crew Changes: A Comprehensive Guide v1.19 - a comprehensive guide with details relating to crew change on most coastal states. There are several embedded documents within the guide.
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.