This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 8 October covers updates from Brazil, Latvia, Oman, Singapore, United Kingdom, the UK P&I Club 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).
The below circulars represent the latest information to-date from the IMO.
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, Ireland, Israel, 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.
The Brazilian government issued Ordinance 658 ( English translation kindly provided by Proinde) on 5 October 2021 lifting air travel restrictions on foreign passengers from the United Kingdom, South Africa and India which were previously imposed due to the spread of the COVID-19 variants. However, documentation as follows is still required to be furnished to the airlines for all passengers:
For passengers with stopovers or connecting flights, those leaving the airport's transit area for more than72 hours since the molecular test, or 24 hours after the rapid antigen test, must undergo a new test with negative or undetectable results at checking-in for the final flight.
With effect from 1st November, the carriage of foreign passengers on cruise vessels exclusively in Brazilian jurisdictional waters will commence. In the coming weeks, the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) will fully overhaul its current set of protocols for crew changes, case identification, management of shipboard COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines on vessels and platforms. BIMCO will keep members posted once the revision is issued.
The restriction on entry by land and sea for non-resident foreigners remains with the exemption granted to seafarers and cruise ships. Proinde has just updated their COVID-19 practical guidance on 7 October relating to ports, ships and crew transfers.
According to the Latvian's Ministry of foreign Affairs, all persons travelling to Latvia must complete an electronic form on the covidpass.lv no later than 48 hours prior to arrival. It appears that seafarers on their way to or returning from a ship are exempted from any tests and restrictions imposed on persons coming from high or very high risk countries. However restrictions on entry to Latvia will depend on the country the person is travelling from and on whether the person has been vaccinated, or recovered from COVID-19. It should be noted that from 1 September, persons from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Israel, New Zealand and Canada who have been vaccinated with the vaccine registered by the European Medicines Agency or an equivalent regulator or recognized by the World Health Organization and will have the appropriate Proof can enter Latvia without additional restrictions. More information on these exact travel restrictions can be found on the said Ministry's website, where an overview of the entry requirements can be viewed.
According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News, the following crew change restrictions are in place:
Under a new initiative called Sea Crew Vaccination Initiative or SEAVAX, Singapore is paving the way allowing for COVID-19 vaccinations available for eligible groups of foreign sea crew in Singapore. Under the new SEAVAX initiative, eligible groups of non-resident foreign sea crew will be offered COVID-19 vaccination on a voluntary basis from 30 August 2021. These include:
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has just released their latest circular on crew changes. Please see PMC no. 38, superseding PMC no.30 and was effective with effect from 6 October 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:
Signing-off crew requirements as follows:
Via a notice issued by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) on the 29 September 2021, shipowners of UK ships are required to notify the MCA of any seafarers remaining on board beyond their contracted period/seafarer employment agreement. For seafarers that have been on board for 11 months or longer, the MCA will only consider further extensions in exceptional circumstances . When so granted, it will be agreed only for the minimum amount of time necessary to reach a port where repatriation can be facilitated, or for thirty days at a time, unless the seafarer concerned has requested to remain on board for a longer period. For full details, please read the MIN 632 notice, which will expire on 30 November 2021.
According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News, the traffic light system has been abandoned in favour of a more simple system:
If arriving from a non-red list country and being fully vaccinated, the traveller needs only to do a test on the second day after arrival. Seafarers are exempted from the general travel restrictions. For specific restrictions applicable to seafarers, please see the topic page on the UK Government's website.
The UK P&I club has just released their latest version 1.28 dated 4 October on " Global Crew Change Advice" covering update on Trinidad and Tobago.
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.
Access BIMCO's COVID-19 related articles and advice.
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.
For general guidance and information on cargo-related queries.
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