Coronavirus (COVID-19) - crew challenges

Overview

In the wake of COVID-19 have the BIMCO secretariat received a number of reports and circulars with imposed restrictions intended to keep the virus at bay. These restrictions have proven to disturb crew mobility. In this page, we'll guide our members on the ship/shore interface restriction regimes BIMCO is aware of

Since the first reports of restrictions associated with COVID-19 were received by the BIMCO secretariat, a clear picture slowly emerged: The preventive measures would prove a significant disturbance to all crewing operations, such as:

  • If the crew are unable to disembark the ship due to recent port calls, they must stay on board
  • If the replacing crew is unable to enter the country for scheduled crew change due to their country of origin, some crew will have to remain on board on mutually agreed extended contracts
  • If service engineers are unable to access the ship, they cannot perform their specialised maintenance which could jeopardise the proper function of the ship´s equipment

Initially, the restrictions mainly targeted Chinese citizens without even considering whether they had spent several months on board prior to the outbreak. When COVID-19 started local circulation in other countries than China, the restriction regimes gradually changed to include new clusters.

In general, restrictions are either depending on:

  • Travel history
  • Nationalities

If the restrictions are depending on travel history, it is important to take the following into account:

  • Where has the crew been recently and at which ports has the ship called?
  • What is the travel history for supernumeraries such as:
    • Cargo superintendents
    • Passengers
    • Accompanying spouses and children
    • Guards – if employed on other ships recently, these itineraries should also be considered

If restrictions are depending on nationalities, it is important to take the following into account:

  • What are the nationalities of the crew on board?
  • What is the ship’s country of registry?

It is important to keep in mind that even though the incubation period for COVID-19 is generally accepted as being within two weeks, several countries are imposing even longer restrictions.

In the following sections, please find non-exhaustive lists of imposed restrictions to crew mobility in the ship/shore interface. Moreover it doesn't necessarily take into account any quarantine period applied to disembarking seafarers. The information provided is obtained from local agents and available public data. However, port authorities and port state health authorities can impose or change regimes with little to no notice. To get the extended information, we kindly refer to our designated COVID-19 page.

Crew change clause

Considering the the current situation with limited flights and closed borders, owners might find it impossible to perform crew change and receive specialised technicians onboard their ships. To cope with these challenges we recommend considering applying BIMCO's newly released Crew change clause, which provides the contractual provisions to perform these operations.

 

Section 1 - crew change allowed

Argentina While Argentina's borders are closed for foreigners, ship's crew are excepted from the provisions in presidential decree 274/2020. Other restrictions may apply.
Australia Regional restrictions may apply in individual states, please consult the implementation page and Shipping Australia for more details
Bahamas Cargo ships - and their crew - are exempted from the disembarkation restrictions in the Bahamian Emergency Powers
Belgium
Brazil Provided repatriation takes place the day of disembarkation. Foreigners are restricted in entry to Brazil
Bulgaria Transport personnel are exempted from travel restrictions. Ships must be isolated 14 days before berthing if arriving from affected countries
Canada
Croatia Suspension of receipt of the visa application does not apply to [...] transport personnel
Cyprus
Denmark
Egypt International flights allowed 
Estonia
EU+ While the external borders of the EU is closed, the provisions should not apply to "transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary"
Finland
Georgia  
Germany
Gibraltar
Hong Kong, SAR
Iceland The entry ban on foreign citizens do not apply to transportation crew
Indonesia
Ireland Seafarers are categorized as essential workers and for this reason exempted from travel restrictions
Israel
Jamaica Clear transit along the route should be verified
Korea, Republic of According to news pieces coming from the Korean Immigration office, are crew vise excepted from other visa restrictions
Latvia Seafarers are excepted from the entry restrictions
Lithuania The quarantine restrictions apply differently to transportation crew
Malaysia
Subject to COVID-19 test result 
Netherlands, the
Norway Crew change operations is possible, though quarantine restrictions may apply
Panama  
Philippines  
Portugal
 
Reunion Island
Russia
Singapore Conditions apply 
Slovenia Seafarers are categorized as essential workers and for this reason exempted from travel restrictions
Spain
Sweden While the Swedish borders are closed, the provisions do not apply to EEA or Swiss citizens, persons involved in the transportation of goods or persons in transit
Timor-Leste Although Timor-Leste is in a State of Emergency, the provisions restricting foreigners from entry does not apply to employees on oil platforms or persons involved in the transportation of goods
Ukraine Transport personnel are excepted from the entry restrictions
United Kingdom
United States of America On a federal level merchant mariners are classified as essential workers. State restrictions may apply

Section 2 - restrictions depending on travel history

Belize

Сhіnа

Ноng Коng, SAR

Іrаn

Јараn

Коrеа, Republic of

Еurоре

Grenada

China

Europe, incl. UK and Ireland

Iran

Korea, Republic of

Japan

Albania

Andorra

Antigua and Barbuda

Armenia

Australia

Austria

Bahrain

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Brunei

Bulgaria

Canada

Chile

China

Hong Kong, SAR

Macau. SAR

Taiwan

Congo, DR

Cote d'Ivoire

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Indonesia

Iran

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Korea, Republic of

Kosovo

Kuwait

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malaysia

Malta

Mauritius

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

Morocco

Netherlands

New Zealand

Northern Macedonia

Norway

Oman

Panama

Philippines

Poland

Portugal

Qatar

Romania

Russia

San Marino

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Thailand

Turkey

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

United States of America

Vatican

Vietnam

Kenya

China

Kuwait

China

      Hong Kong, SAR

Iran

Iraq

Italy

Japan

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Thailand

Myanmar

China

Korea, Republic of

Nigeria

China

Korea, Republic of

Iran

Italy

Other infected countries - not otherwise specified

Qatar

China

Not otherwise specified

Saudi Arabia

Bahrain

China

Djibouti

Egypt

Eritrea

Ethiopia

India

Iraq

Kenya

Korea

Kuwait

Lebanon

Pakistan

Philippines

Somalia 

South Sudan

Sri Lanka

Sudan

Sultanate of Oman

Switzerland

Syria

Turkey

UAE

European Union

Sudan

China

Not otherwise specified

Suriname

China

Trinidad and Tobago

China

Iran

Italy

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Uruguay

China

France

Germany

Iran

Italy

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Spain

United States of America

High risk countries as identified by WHO

Section 3 - restrictions depending on nationalities

Argentina

European Union

Islamic Republic of Iran

Japan

Mainland China

Korea, Republic of

Schengen Area

United Kingdom

United States of America

Bangladesh

Europe

Ivory Coast

Countries with more than 100 cases - overview for reference

Japan

China

Myanmar

China

South Africa

China

Hong Kong SAR

Germany

Iran

Italy

Korea, Republic of

Portugal

Singapore

Spain

United Kingdom

United States of America

Togo

Affected countries (Not otherwise specified)

Vietnam

China

Denmark

Finland

French

Germany

Hong Kong

Iran

Italian

Italy

Japan

Korea

Macau

Norway

Spain

Sweden

United Kingdom

Section 4 - crew change is prohibited or borders are closed

Albania
Algeria
Angola Crew change prohibited until at least 26 May
Argentina Until at least 10 May
Aruba
Azores
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belize
Bonaire
Cameroon
Chile
China

Foreign crew are prohibited from changing in China, Chinese crew are allowed to change.

Special conditions apply for Hong Kong, SAR

Congo, DR
Czech Republic Including outbound Czech citizens
Dominican Republic
Gabon Reportedly no obstructions to crew change
Gambia
Ghana
Greece
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
India Until 3 May. Indian seafarers are able to disembark under certain precautions
Kazakhstan Until 15 April
Lebanon Crew change is dealt with on a case by case ratio and only in extreme cases
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malta Requests for new visas will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. Starting in July, the Maltese administration will gradually allow international flights.
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Namibia
New Zealand
Oman Crew change allowed under special circumstances
Pakistan
Peru Until at least 12 April
Poland
Qatar Mesaieed Port
Saba Until 10 May
Sri Lanka Due to imported cases have crew change been suspended temporarily since 24 June. Disembarkation of foreign seafarers is permitted
St. Eustatius
St. Lucia
Serbia
Slovakia
South Africa South African seafarers are excepted
Trinidad and Tobago Until at least 15 May
Taiwan Taiwanese seafarers are excepted from these provisions, but are subject to 14 days home quarantine
Turkey Except citizens in Russia, Qatar and Libya
United Arab Emirates

Crew change allowed under special circumstances 

Venezuela
Johan Conrad
in Copenhagen, DK
 

ELSEWHERE ON BIMCO

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