Following the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the government of California wrote a letter to the Trump Administration requesting immediate deployment of the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the Port of Los Angeles until September 2020, so as to be prepared in response to the disease.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued a second update within this month, reducing the Maximum Authorized Draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks to 13.56 m (44.5 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW), starting from 17 April 2020.
The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore issued an additional update concerning the mitigation of the COVID-19 spread, expanding its border restrictions.
The United States Coast Guard issued another update concerning its COVID-19 statement on March 16, adding more countries to the US’ restrictions, following WHO’s statement that the EU and the US are now the epicentre of the pandemic.
As a result of the EU being the epicentre of COVID-19, several shipping companies are suspending operations, followed by the many restrictions issued about closed borders and ports; Therefore, Germany’s Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) suspends all operations.
As a response to the global COVID-19 outbreak, Norwegian expedition cruise operator Hurtigruten announced it will voluntarily stop operations from pole to pole until the end of April.
Maritime officials in Queensland, Australia have ordered all foreign trading ships to essentially self-quarantine before entering their ports due to the COVID-19 crisis. Vessels are advised to contact port authorities if crew member or passenger is showing any coronavirus symptoms that include fever, flu-like symptoms cough, sore throat, headache or difficulty breathing.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the impacts that has brought upon the shipping industry, the dry bulk shipping association, INTERCARGO called all ports to keep permitting crew changes due to the increased number of national travel restrictions.
International maritime charity Sailors’ Society announced that is now offering to seafarers virtual chaplaincy as it stops its port activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Charity informs that is halts operations in all 90 ports, beginning for two weeks, in the light of the increased spread of the virus and the World Health Organization (WHO) activating an international state of emergency.
Following the closure of IMO’s headquarters on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March, as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19, it is reported that the London Headquarters building has reopened following deep cleaning and sanitization.
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