On January 28th, 2022, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the General Customs jointly published a document for Vessels Engaged in International Voyages which came into force on February 15th, 2022 and concerns prevention and control measures against COVID-19.
his document called “Announcement on Effectively Implementing Remote Prevention and Control Measures of the COVID-19 for Vessels Engaged in International Voyages” requires that vessels on international voyages scheduled to change crew at Chinese ports, should carry out COVID-19 tests.
In addition, this announcement stipulates that the vessels should implement prevention and control measures from 48h before their departure from the last overseas port to one day before their arrival at Chinese ports.
This applies to vessels on international voyages that intend to enter China and plan to change their crew, including foreign crew at ports within the territory of the PR China. Vessels on international voyages scheduled to enter China and change crew, which depart the last overseas port after February 15th, 2022 shall comply with the requirements of the Announcement.
It also applies to shipping companies, crew service agencies, vessels and other relevant persons. In case of any violation to the Announcement or relevant laws, regulations of the PRC, punishments shall be imposed against the relevant parties.
It is required for all onboard crewmembers to take COVID-19 test at the prescribed time, properly record and submit the results to the maritime administrative authority, the Customs, etc.
#1 COVID-19 test shall be carried out within 48 Hours before leaving the port abroad
Crew members who test positive should receive medical care timely at the nearest institutions. On the voyage after leaving the last port abroad, the requirements as stipulated in the latest version of Prevention and Control Plan of COVID-19, issued by the National Health Commission of the PRC shall be followed.
And a scheme shall be maintained to ensure that all crewmembers shall take COVID-19 test regularly. In order to avoid spreading of infection and protect the health of crewmembers, self-quarantine and medical treatment measures shall be implemented timely in the event of positive test result.
Nucleic test shall be the first choice for testing the COVID-19 virus. However, when nucleic test becomes unavailable, other rapid test measures, such as antigen tests, can be chosen as alternatives. And these chosen rapid test products shall be the ones approved by the medical products regulatory agencies in China or other countries and regions.
#2 The Record and Submission of the Test Results
All vessels to which this announcement applies shall refer to the administrative requirements for entry personnel as stipulated in the latest version of Prevention and Control Plan of COVID-19 issued by the National Health Commission of the PRC, and organize all crewmembers to carry out COVID-19 test on the 1st, 4th, 7th and 14th day (if any) during the voyage and 1 day before arrival at port.
These results shall be properly recorded and kept. After completing COVID-19 tests to all crewmembers on board the vessel one day before the port of call, these results shall be submitted, together with the testing information of crew members during the voyage to the local maritime administrative authority, the Customs and other departments located at the first port of call.
The Guideline on Information to Submit Regarding Remote Prevention and Control Measures of the COVID-19 for Vessels Engaged in International Voyage (Chinese Version) is attached for reference.
On the voyage after leaving the last port abroad, if the health information or COVID-19 testing results are found abnormal, the Master shall promptly report the case of abnormal crew members to his shipping company or crew service agency, and take emergency response to ensure self-quarantine and medical treatment measures will be implemented.
The maritime administrative authority that receives the seafarers’ testing information and the vessel concerned shall timely submit the relevant information to the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism (leading group or command headquarters) at the place of the first port of entry for disposal.