BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report dated 30 December 2021

COVID 19  3 factors to help you stay safe


This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 30 December covers the World Health Organization (WHO), Australia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Philippines, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, updated crew change national focal point contact 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 23 December, WHO issued an updated 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 (eg significant growth advantage over Delta leading to rapid spread in the community) 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



According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News, Australia has established Safe Travel Zones with the following countries:

  • New Zealand, all fully vaccinated travellers who have only been in either Australia and/or New Zealand for 14 days prior are permitted to travel between Australia and New Zealand, without the need to apply for a travel exemption into participating jurisdictions.
  • Singapore, fully vaccinated Singaporean passport holders who are departing Singapore directly to Australia (i.e. no transit between the two countries) are permitted to travel to Australia without the need to apply for a travel exemption into participating jurisdictions.
  • Japan, fully vaccinated Japanese passport holders who are departing Japan directly to Australia (i.e. no transit between the two countries) are permitted to travel to Australia without the need to apply for a travel exemption into participating jurisdictions.
  • Republic of Korea, fully vaccinated Korean passport holders who are departing South Korea directly to Australia (i.e. no transit between the two countries) are permitted to travel to Australia without the need to apply for a travel exemption into participating jurisdictions.

Further details on the government's website on Safe Travel Zones.


The State Maritime Agency via an IMO circular letter no. 4223/Add.7 , advised that an extension till 31 March 2022 is granted for the following: 

  • Validity of certificates of seafarers
  • Endorsements of certificates issued by other governments
  • Seafarer's Identity Document  


Georgia's Maritime Transport Agency informing the IMO, via an IMO circular letter no. 4232/Add.14, of the following: 

  • Certificates of Competency or Proficiency, Seamen’s books expiring before 1st March 2022, shall upon written application by the shipowner and/or ship manager company, will be renewed for a period of 3 months from date of expiry.  
  • Medical certificates of seafarers expiring by 1 March 2022, shall be automatically renewed for a period of 3 months. 


According to information provided by GAC Hot Port News and confirmed by the Philippine government, the schedule for travel restrictions has been amended by Resolution 154-B. The Red list of countries now includes as follows:

  • Andorra
  • France
  • Monaco
  • Northern Marina Islands
  • Réunion
  • San Marino
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland     


Validity of Certificates of Competence, as well as the endorsements on recognition of certificates issued by another Government, Certificates of Proficiency, tanker endorsements (oil tankers, liquefied gas tankers, chemical tankers), certificates for ship’s cooks and other STCW documents is extended for three (3) months with no requirement for additional entries or issuance of new documents.  This is in accordance with information provided by the Russian Ministry of Transport to the IMO via a circular letter no. 4237/Add.25

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 

According to information provided (circular N-Gen 025-Rev 12) by the Maritime Administration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and circulated by the IMO in a circular letter no. 4248/add. 14,  the following are the measures in place effective 18 December :

  • Scheduled statutory surveys by the classification society may be postponed based on a case-by-case basis
  • Dry docking and service of equipment may be extended based on individual applications
  • ISM Internal audits may be extended for up to three months if prevented by travel restrictions. After expiry of the extension, the crew may be allowed to conduct the internal audit if necessary arrangements are in place
  • Document of Compliance renewal audit may be extended up to 18 March 2022 if the same is prevented by travel restrictions
  • Safety Management Certificates and International Ship Security Certificates may be extended for three months following individual application
  • Maritime Labour Certificate renewal may be done administratively by the classification society until 18 March 2022 if renewal inspection cannot be conducted
  • Annual flag State inspections will be conducted subject to availability of flag State inspectors and pre-registration inspections will be conducted at a mutually agreed location on a case-by-case basis 
  • Seafarers' Employment Agreements (SEA) may exceed 12 months if repatriation is not possible and considered force majeure and not a breach of the MLC convention, 2006. However, a new SEA is to be signed with a clause that seafarer is entitled to repatriate at no cost to the seafarer at 7 days' notice. 
  • Minimum Safe Manning Dispensations may be issued if replacement crew cannot be facilitated and onboard crew members have to leave due to urgent circumstances
  • Seamans' books may be extended upon request. 
  • Seafarers with expired Medical Certificates may continue to serve onboard for additional three months
  • Endorsements attesting Certificates of Competency or Certificates of Proficiency by another Administration may be extended subject to certain conditions are fulfilled as advised in the circular


Travel restrictions imposed by Singapore denying entry for long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent 14-day travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have been lifted and they will now be allowed to enter effective 26 December, 2359 hours and will be subjected to border measures for Category IV countries/regions. As a consequence, PMC no. 44/2021 is removed.

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


According to GISIS today, the list of countries (48) 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, Ecuador ( new) Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, IrelandIsrael, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco ( new) 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. 

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:

Ai Cheng Foo-Nielsen
in Copenhagen, DK


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