CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) FOCUS PAGE
Published: May 29, 2020
Updated: April 7, 2021
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020. The Club is monitoring the situation, and this Focus page is updated regularly.
A number of countries have implemented travel restrictions or bans, country wide lockdowns, and mandatory 14 day self-isolation or quarantine to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. A ‘social distancing’ policy is also being implemented in order to reduce unnecessary contact.
All shipstaff and travellers should be made aware of the risks, symptoms and the actions to take.
Members are advised to review the WHO and local public health authority websites (see below) for the latest advice, and to follow appropriate health advice and guidelines.
Additional information may also be available from:
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Typical symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and fatigue. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.
CLUB ADVICE AND GUIDANCE
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- Consider respiratory facemasks and protective eyewear
- Avoid close contact with ill people, particularly people suffering from acute respiratory infections
The International Group of P&I Clubs have launched a publicly accessible online dashboard which details country and port specific measures in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special edition of Britannia Crew Watch has been published, setting out the basic facts about the virus, providing some practical advice about how to prevent the spread and what to do to contain an outbreak on board.
Law Firm MFB have provided a brief update on some of the issues that may arise from COVID-19
BIMCO provide advice on charter parties and other contracts in the COVID-19 section of their website
STAYING SAFE ON BOARD AND ONSHORE
- The International Chamber of Shipping has published a Practical Guide on COVID-19 Vaccination for ships’ crew and shipping companies
- Updated Requirements for Sign-Off Crew In Singapore – Port Marine Circular No. 07 of 2021
- Shore Leave For Crew Working Onboard Vessels In Port Of Singapore – Port Marine Circular No. 43 of 2020
- How To Stay Safe On An International Vessel – Maritime NZ poster
- INTERCARGO calls for seafarers to receive COVID-19 vaccine as a priority – Media Release
- The Singapore Crew Change Work Group have updated the SINGAPORE CREW CHANGE GUIDEBOOK, (Dated 24th September 2020), and Members are urged to follow the processes in this Guidebook when effecting crew changes in Singapore.
- The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have issued updated additional precautionary measures to follow when carrying out crew changes on Singapore-registered ships
- The MPA have also issued revisions to crew changes for cargo ships under special circumstances in the port of Singapore
- INTERTANKO have published a guide on Crew Welfare Management and Mental Wellness
- AMSA Marine Notice – Maximum period of shipboard service for seafarers during the period 1 July 2020 to 1 October 2020
- China MSA has updated their Guidance on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 on board (V2.0)
- The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has issued Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers
- WHO has issued Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships
- The IMO has issued a Circular to facilitate appropriate COVID-19 lockdown exemptions for seafarers to join or leave ships
ADVICE FROM CORRESPONDENTS
Correspondents in China have issued the following Circulars related to COVID-19.
- Updated local policy for crew change in China 09/02/2021
- COVID-19 Update – Measures taken by Chinese Authorities when a ship arrives in port with crew members who have tested positive for COVID-19
- COVID-19 Update – Crew changes become possible in Shanghai, China, 21/03/2020
- Update on the Outbreak of the COVID-2019 in China, 19/02/2020
- Outbreak of the New Coronavirus in China – Measures Taken at Chinese Ports, 05/02/2020
- Update on the Outbreak of the New Coronavirus in China, 29/01/2020
- Reporting abnormal crew health conditions when calling into Chinese ports
- Chinese Ports Update – Development on Foreign Crew Change and Disembarkation – Huatai Circular Ref No.: PNI  13
- List of COVID-19 nucleic acid test institutions designated or recognized by the overseas Chinese embassies or consulates
- New prevention and control measures for ships entering China, 25/09/2020
- Latest Update on Crew Change in Chinese Ports, 21/04/2020
- Updates on Chinese Port Information during COVID-19 outbreak, 10/03/2020
- Huatai Info – on Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak, 03/02/2020
The following organisations also have useful pages on their websites dedicated to COVID-19.
The Club’s Correspondent in the Philippines has issued updated guidance on the conduct of Crew Changes.
Correspondents in Brazil have advised that the Brazilian government has now issued Ordinance n. 652 of 25th January 2021, and the entry of foreigners of any nationality into the country is restricted, by road, by other terrestrial means or by water transport. Exceptions are highlighted in the Ordinance.
Furthermore, international flights to the Federative Republic of Brazil originating in or passing through the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of South Africa are prohibited on a temporary basis.
The entry of crew members who are boarding a ship or platform operating in jurisdictional waters, and entry for medical treatment continues to be permitted subject to specific conditions as detailed in article 3 of the Ordinance.
Enhanced health screening measures, including the use of thermal scanners, are in place for travellers and seafarers who have recently visited or travelled through areas where COVID-19 is prevalent. They may also be required to self-isolate for a period of at least 14 days. Immigration and local health authorities may implement additional restrictions.
Requests for Free Pratique are now required well in advance of arrival, and Masters are required to report any indication that a crew member or passenger may have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, severe coughing, breathing difficulties etc.). Quarantine officers may also board the ship for additional verification checks.
Members are also advised to check with local correspondents and agents for the latest position.
PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES
Links to local public health authority websites for certain ports/countries are given below, and Members can contact the Club for additional information.
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- United States Coast Guard