Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease with the potential to cause severe health implications. It is found mainly in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America. 

As explained, Chinese quarantine authorities have implemented an enhanced inspection regime in the country’s ports as a result from recent World Health Organization (WHO) reports of serious outbreaks in Nigeria and Brazil. The enhanced inspection regime for yellow fever commenced on 19 January 2018 and is expected to last for three months.

The regime applies to vessels and containers arriving at Chinese ports from Nigeria, Peru and Brazil, except from the Brazilian ports of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Sergipe; and requires vessels and containers to be effectively disinsected and crew members onboard must be in possession of valid yellow fever vaccination certificates.

Recommendations

According to Gard’s correspondent in China, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Services Ltd.:

  • Chinese port inspectors will require proof of disinsection of vessels and/or cargo arriving from affected ports in Nigeria, Peru or Brazil. Operators are therefore advised to obtain a mosquito eradication certificate prior to leaving the affected area.
  • The enhanced quarantine requirements may be enforced differently from one Chinese port to another, so the Agency emphasises the importance of contacting the vessel’s agent in the relevant Chines port to ascertain the local quarantine requirements in force at any given time and the documentation required. 

Furthermore, shipowners and operators with vessels trading to areas where there is a risk of exposure to mosquito-borne diseases should ensure that these vessels are able to deal with the various challenges that a mosquito-borne disease can bring.

In addition to the duty of care for those onboard, shipowners and Masters also have a responsibility for taking measures to prevent such diseases from spreading. 

In early 2017, the Club had also issued an advisory regarding precautionary measure to be implemented prior to, during and after a vessel’s visit to an area where there is a risk of exposure to a mosquito-borne disease.

Moreover, according to the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of PRC and its Implementation Rules, a ship will be considered as contaminated with yellow fever if yellow fever case is found on board on arrival or during navigation, or suspected of having been contaminated with yellow fever if she left the yellow fever prevalent area less than 6 days ago, or less than 30 days if yellow fever mosquito or other virus carrying mosquitoes are found on board.

In addition, passengers or crewmembers with yellow fever will be required to undergo sanitization, be placed in isolation, kept away from the shore or other ships at a distance of no less than 400 meters and unloading of cargo will have to commence after disinsectization. In violation of the provisions of Notice and the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of PRC and its Implementation Rules, the ship will be warned and, if the circumstances are serious, levied a fine ranging from RMB1,000 to RMB30,000.