BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report dated 17 December 2021

COVID 19  3 factors to help you stay safe


This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 17 December covers the World Health Organization (WHO), Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Gard 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, WHO and International Labour Organization (ILO).

1. World Health Organization (WHO)

On 10 December, WHO issued a global technical brief and priority action required for Member states to enhance readiness for Omicron ( B.1.1.529), of which WHO has given an overview.  The overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons and also due to the fact that the global risk of COVID-19 remains very high overall. A risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner is recommended and efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage as rapidly as possible should continue. See WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant for additional information.

Please see BIMCO-WHO for more information.


2. Government States



Please see the latest update as at 8 December provided by Shipping Australia Limited, including on Omicron-imposed restrictions. Notwithstanding that maritime crew is exempted from travel restrictions under Federal law, seafarers are still required to comply with the laws applicable to individual state or territory so both requirements always need to be double-checked before travelling to Australia. 


Via an IMO circular letter no. 4255/Add.3, Belgium has started on 6 December a campaign to provide booster vaccination shots to all seafarers arriving at Belgian ports in addition to already providing vaccination for all seafarers since July 2021 to support seafarers as key workers. 


Further to the BIMCO Brazilian update provided in our COVID weekly report on 10 December ( see below for easy reference),  Westshore has kindly updated us of the following provided by Promare :  

  • Federal Government issued a new Normative (nº 662) postponing the enforcement of vaccine mandates (nº 661) to 18 December 2021  due to a ransomware attack on their servers handling  COVID-19 data and a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court denying entry of seafarers who are not fully vaccinated without any quarantine in place as substitute. As a result, uncertainty has arisen with regard to crew change procedures for seafarers who are not fully vaccinated and whether they would be denied entry from December 14th to today. However from 18 December, entry will be denied. 
  • When the current rules come into effect (December 18th), those who are embarking/disembarking will need to provide (1) proof of full vaccination and (2) proof of negative COVID-19 test, either from a rapid antigen test performed 24 hours before the embark/disembark or from an RT-PCR test performed 72 hours before.
  • The crew change is subject to the authorization of the Health Authority, and seafarers who have been in the red list countries in the last 14 days might be required to undergo a 14 days quarantine, which is required from travelers who come from red list countries by air.
  • Strongly recommended that correspondents and shipping agents are contacted before your vessel arrive a Brazilian Port. In addition, it is recommended to check with local Naval Authority/Health Authority/Port Authority the current situations, as it can change from Port to Port.

BIMCO COVID-weekly report on 10 December (extract on Brazil) 
According to a translation of ordinance 661/21 provided by the Brazilian general consulate in London, authorisation to persons with recent travel history within the past 14 days to the below list of countries and flights originating from or transiting the below list is suspended temporarily:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe


The Myanmar's department of Marine Administration issued Marine instruction 11/2021 allowing for a further extension of validity of STCW certificates of Myanmar seafarers that are expiring between the period of 1 January 2022 to 3l March 2022 shall be extended to 30 June 2022 without need to submit application at the DMA. For full details, please refer to the said marine instruction issued via an IMO circular letter no. 4246/Add.10.     

Sri Lanka

According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News, the Ministry of Health has withdrawn the special travel restrictions applied to certain African countries. Current restrictions are as follows for seafarers in accordance with Section H of the Ministry of Health declaration dated 25 October:

  • Foreign seafarers, not fully vaccinated:
    • Day 1 PCR test
    • 7-days Isolation Centre quarantine 
    • Release from quarantine subject to negative test result
    • Direct travel to ship or airport upon release
  • Sri Lankan seafarers, not fully vaccinated:
    • Day 1 PCR test
    • 7-days home quarantine
    • Day 7 PCR or antigen test
  • Foreign and Sri Lankan seafarers, fully vaccinated arriving via airports:
    • Quarantine exemption subject to 72-hours PCR or 48-hours antigen pre-arrival test
    • If exempted from pre-arrival test, day 1 PCR test must be done.
    • Quarantine exempted subject to negative test result of day 1 PCR test
    • PCR test required if showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Foreign and Sri Lankan seafarers, fully vaccinated arriving via seaports:
    • Day 1 PCR test at Quarantine Centre
    • Release from quarantine subject to negative test result  

United Kingdom

According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News, the countries mentioned on 2 December have been removed from the UK's  Red list of countries. A quick glance through the government''s  websites confirms this information. At the moment of writing, there are no countries on the Red list for the following:


3. Others 

Industry Organizations

Gard P&I club has issued guidance to help their members to differentiate between operational expenses and recoverable insured costs in relation to COVID-related crew claims and how best to prepare for such claims documentation.  


4. IMO 

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

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 8, issued on 13 October 2021, provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers to-date with the latest additions of Bulgaria and Pakistan. The full 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.
  • Addendum no. 43 to IMO circular no 4204 "Coronavirus (COVID-19)" issued on 1 November 2021 offering a list of global ports offering vaccinations for seafarers. 

5. IMO Crew Change - National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers 

According to GISIS today, the list of countries (46) 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, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand , Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu. 




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.

Read more

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.

Latest piracy reports


Latest industry releasable threats



Contracts & Clauses

All of BIMCO's most widely used contracts and clauses as well as advice on managing charters and business partners.

Learn about your cargo

For general guidance and information on cargo-related queries.

More about cargo

BIMCO Publications

Want to buy or download a BIMCO publication? Use the link to get access to the ballast water management guide, the ship master’s security manual and many other publications.

About a new business partner

We can help members check new business partners. We also help to recover millions of USD (undisputed) funds every year.