BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report dated 24 September 2021

COVID 19  3 factors to help you stay safe


This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 24 September covers updates from China, Denmark, Russia, UK P&I Club, the North American Maritime Ministry Association and the latest from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

Every week, BIMCO summarises measures imposed by governments for sea transport, including for crew change, as well as updates from United Nations bodies such as the IMO, World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO).


1. IMO

The below circulars represent the latest information to-date from the IMO.  

  • Addendum no.4/Rev.3 to IMO circular no. 4204, issued on 16 July 2021, providing a further update to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)'s guidance for ship operators relating to the protection of the health of seafarers.
  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 7, issued on 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:

  • Addendum no.42 to IMO circular no. 4204 "Coronavirus (COVID-19)" issued on 17 September 2021 relating to joint IMO/ILO statement on upholding medical assistance obligations to seafarers and accelerating seafarer vaccination programmes.


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  (45) 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, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, IrelandIsrael, Italy, Jamaica, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore (new), 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


To improve ship-shore interface for all ports and crew changes in China, the Chinese government has revised their Guidance on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 on board, releasing their 7th version via an IMO circular letter. The new version covers disposal of domestic waste and sewage where operators onboard should have proper personal protection.  


Denmark lifted its national COVID-19 restrictions on 10 September 2021. However this does not affect the current entry restrictions to Denmark and will continue to apply after 10 September 2021.  For crew change, the following will apply: 

  • Seafarers signing on or off in Denmark in connection with a crew change is permitted. However, you can only sign off from a cruise liner or a passenger ship with room for more than 100 passengers with the approval of the Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed).
  • If you are a seaman on a cargo ship or on a small passenger ship (with room for 100 passengers or less), you can go ashore to exercise your right to shore leave. The general conditions applicable to the right to shore leave must be observed. If you are a seaman on a large passenger ship with room for more than 100 passengers, you can only go ashore with the approval of the Patient Safety Authority.
  • Relevant documents
    Present confirmation from your employer of where and when you are to sign on or off.  Provide proof that you are a crew member, such as a valid employment contract. 

    Normally, you must also present a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before entry or a negative antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before entry.

    For example, if you were PCR-tested on Tuesday at 4.00 pm, you must have received proof of the negative test result and have entered Denmark by Friday at 4.00 pm . After Friday at 4.00 pm, you can no longer use your test result to enter Denmark.

    For example, if you were antigen-tested on Tuesday at 4.00 pm, you must have received proof of the negative test result and have entered Denmark by Thursday at 4.00 pm. After Thursday at 4.00 pm, you can no longer use your test result to enter Denmark.

    Exemptions from the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test
    If you are a crew member on a train, bus, ship, taxi or any other commercial passenger transportation vehicle operating under permission of the Danish Taxi Act and are in transit (for example when signing on or off a ship), you are exempt from the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test upon entry.
    Note, however, that if you travel to Denmark to sign on a ship etc. and you arrive from a red country or region, you must present a negative PCR test before boarding the plane. The test must have been taken no more then 72 hours before you board the plane.


The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation has granted an extension to 31 December to seafarers' certificates and documents which have expired or due to expire. In addition, validity of certificates of competence and other relevant certificates will be extended for a 3 months for seafarers on board ships and unable to do the extension. Please read the IMO circular letter no. 4237/Add.24 for full details.

4. Others

The UK P&I Club has issued version 1.26 of their comprehensive guide on crew changes covering updates on USA and Brazil. 

BIMCO has received from the North American Maritime Ministry Association, an update on the availability of vaccinations for foreign seafarers.


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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