Following WHO’s declare on global emergency after the outbreak of the coronavirus, many maritime authorities in the shipping industry have issued information on the case, providing details on the current situation.
#1a Singapore Shipping Association, Singapore – 28 January
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has implemented temperature screening at all sea checkpoints, including ferry and cruise terminals, PSA Terminals and Jurong Port, for inbound travellers since 24 January 2020, 12pm.
Travellers and ship crew arriving at sea checkpoints will undergo temperature screening conducted by on-site healthcare assistants. Suspect cases will be referred to the hospitals for further assessment.
MPA has put up health advisories at the sea checkpoints to advise travellers and ship crew on the precautionary measures to take when travelling, as well as to remain vigilant and adopt good hygiene practices at all times.
#1b – Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) – 3 February update
The MPA Singapore issued updates providing advice and recommendations concerning the emergency of the situation.
a) The Port Marine Circular No.02 of 2020 as attached provides health advisory for;
- operators, owners, masters, persons-in-charge and crew members of harbour and pleasure craft
- shore personnel visiting ships alongside the wharves and at the anchorages
- shipowners, ship managers, agents and masters of Singapore Registered Ships
b) The Port Marine Circular No.03 of 2020 as attached provides the National Environment Agency’s (Port Health Office) requirements to submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the Port Health Office.
#2 Budd Group, France – 28 January
On January 27 the Port of Maerseille-Fos confirmed that the sea links between Wuhan and Dourges have been suspended and advising that the flyer should be distributed to all vessels which have called in China.
The flyer advises that anyone suffering from the symptoms of a respiratory illness should:
- Wear a surgical mask when others are present;
- Use disposable tissues and wash hands regularly;
- Contact the French medical emergency services (SAMU – call “15”) and tell them of any journey to Wuhan (or China).
- To reduce the risk transmission, people with novel coronavirus-type symptoms are requested not to go to a hospital or general practitioner
#3a Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd, China – 29 January
We have checked with China MSA and noted that no Chinese sea port had been officially announced lockdown, except for the inland river port of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated.
Also, it is reported that following the public holidays’ expansion to February 2nd, along with the ports taking stricter prevention and control measures to deal with the virus, the loading/discharging rate may slow down.
They suggest Members whose vessels are scheduled to call at Chinese ports in the near future, to keep close contact with their local agent so as to get the latest port information, and to remind their crewmembers to take necessary protection measures.
#3b – Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd – 3 February update
Health declaration prior to berthing:
- Tianjin and Xiamen Health Declaration Form is required before vessel’s berthing.
- Dalian the Customs officers will attend on board the vessel and take temperature of each crew.
Vessels with crew from Wuhan or Hubei Province on board would be monitored especially.
- Putian and Quanzhou of Fujian Province: may not be allowed to take berth.
- Ningbo the vessel probably has to be isolated for 14 days before taking berth.
Substitution of crew is limited.
- Shanghai, Xiamen, Ningbo, Tianjin, Dalian forbidden by the port Authorities.
- Qingdao and Guangzhou forbidden in principle, unless under some special circumstances.
Crew disembarkation is strictly restricted by all ports.
During berth in the port, the crew should take preventive measures.
- Dalian, Xiamen, Guangzhou: The crew must wear a facial mask when they have contact with others in the port.
- Tianjin: The crew must wear a facial mask and temperature test should be taken every day. When any crew has fever, the Customs should be informed immediately.
Port congestion / port operation
- The loading/discharging operation slow down due to lack of stevedores
- The land transportation of cargo into the port or from the port is insufficient since trucks without local license are restricted to enter into the port area.
- As vessels are restricted to call at Wuhan port, transhipment of cargo by inland river feeder vessels in and out the ports in the Yangtze River is affected.
Shanghai, Tianjin, Huanghua, Lianyungang, Jingtang and Caofeidian
Ports not affected:
Zhangjiagang Port and the ports nearby in Yangtze River were sort of congested due to heavy fog from time to time in the past week instead of the outbreak of coronavirus.
Supply of Provisions
Overall foreign vessels’ supply provisions is not restricted.
- Tianjin: Demand of Supply of Provisions be declared 24 hours in advance.
- Qingdao and ports nearby: Has limit to some of the provisions. Please check with local agents.
- Dalian: The provisions should be quarantined by Customs as usual.
This sector may be affected because of lack of workers.
Zhoushan as the local Government restricted the entrance of vehicles with license of other places and people from other places, the efficiency of the shipyards in Zhoushan decreased substantially.
Some exported cargo could not be delivered to the loading ports in time due to transportation restriction in and out of Hubei Province.
According to reports, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade would offer force majeure certificates to local companies, if they are unable to fulfil their international contractual obligations due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Agency commented that
We suggest Members whose vessels are scheduled to call at Chinese ports in the near future, to keep close contact with their local agent so as to get the latest port information, and to remind their crewmembers to take necessary protection measures.
#4 Patriot Maritime Compliance, LLC., USA – New Orleans – 28 January
According to MSIB XX-20, the USCG / COTP of New Orleans require:
Vessels calling within COTP sector will receive an email if the submitted ‘Notice of Arrival’ declares that the vessel has called to China within last five ports of call.
If any of the crew are exhibiting symptoms it must be reported as a ‘hazardous condition’ as defined in 33 CFR 160.216.
Failure to report the above can lead to a civil penalty of up to $94,219.
#5 Inchcape Shipping Services, Kuwait – 29 January
The shipping stakeholder highlights that
All ship Masters coming directly or transiting China ports, are kindly requested to ensure to provide us a statement that no symptoms was observed such as high temperature, sore throat, coughing or breathing difficulties. Therefore, we appreciate to inform port authority immediately if such case take place onboard.
#6 Mutual Marine Services – al Mushtaraka LLC, United Arab Emirates – 30 January
Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime Circular (2) 2020:
All UAE ports must ensure that any vessel that has visited a Chinese port in previous 30 days must provide a Master’s statement that crew are free from symptoms. This must be provided at least 3 days prior to arrival.
#7 Hudson Tactix, USA – Delaware Bay – 31 January
MSIB 04-20 reminds of the following requirements:
- The master of a ship destined for the Delaware Bay Captain of the Port zone shall report to the CDC, the occurrence, on board, of any death or any ill person among passengers or crew (including those who have disembarked or have been removed) during the 15-day period preceding the date of expected arrival in accordance with 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CPR)§ 71.21. The CDC Philadelphia Station can be reached 24 hours a day at (215) 365-6401.
- Also, under 33 CPR. § 160.216, the owner, agent, master, operator, or person in charge of a vessel is required to immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard Sector whenever there is a hazardous condition aboard the vessel.
While the presence of a person with Coronavirus like symptoms does not by itself constitute a hazardous condition, vessel operators should report suspected cases or other unusual circumstances whenever they are in doubt.
Vessel masters should inform Coast Guard and Customs boarding teams of any ill crewmembers onboard.
#8 Hudson Tactix, USA – Federal (All States) – 31 January
The USCG has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin MSIB 01-20 stating:
- Vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased crew/passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC under 42 CFR 71.21. Regional CDC quarantine station points of contact can be found here.
- The Coast Guard will continue to review all “Notice of Arrivals” in accordance with current policies and will communicate any concerns stemming from sick or deceased crew or passengers to their Coast Guard chain of command and the CDC quarantine station who will coordinate with local health authorities.
- Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crewmembers on board their vessel prior to the Coast Guard embarking and Boarding Teams should verify vessel illnesses with CDC if concerns arise.
- Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with section 5310 Procedures for Vessel Quarantine and Isolation, and Section 5320 – Procedures for Security Segregation of Vessels in their Area Maritime Security Plan.
- Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with their Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan.
#9 Aus Ship P&I Australia – 31 January
Aus Ship P&I has come to understand that additional measures are now being introduced in some Ports across the State of NSW to combat the risk of the virus spreading from vessels which have recently called into mainland China. Ports in other states across Australia are expected to follow suit in due course.
When completing pre-arrival reporting to the Australian Biosecurity Department, (usually undertaken via the MARS system) vessels will now be issued with the attached fact sheet concerning the virus.
The Biosecurity Department is also requesting ships agents clarify the following information, should their vessels have recently called into a port in mainland China:
- The Date the vessel departed China;
- Ports called into between departing China and arriving in Australia;
- Declarations as to whether any sick personnel are on board;
- Declaration of the previous 5 ports of call;
Further to the above, where vessels affected berth in Australian ports, vessels may expect heightened bio-security/quarantine measures being implemented; including:
- Australian Biosecurity Department personnel attending the vessel wearing full body protection /HAZMAT style gear;
- Stevedores wearing masks and other protective gear, and being instructed to keep distance and avoid contact with crew where possible;
- Ships agents may carry out procedures from the wharf instead of boarding the affected vessels, so as to minimise potential contamination risk;
- Seafarers aboard affected vessels may be barred from leaving the vessel.
#10 Brazmar Marine Services, Brazil – 31 January
Brazmar issued to the North Club the translation of a published technical note focusing on specific guidelines for ports and vessels in Brazil.
It is highlighted that the vessel journey from China to Brazil takes more than 14 days, the incubation period required in this case.
Averagely, a vessel travels between China and Brazil in 45 days.
- With the intensification of surveillance to detect possible suspected cases of 2019-nCoV and response, it is essential that the Maritime Health Declaration is filled out correctly and in a complete form for evaluation regarding the issue of Free Pratique. It is worth mentioning that requests for Free Pratique must occur between 48 or 72 hours in advance, which allows for a prior assessment by Anvisa, before the authorisation for berthing (Free Pratique issuance).
- Any change in the health status of the crew or passengers must be reported immediately to the Health Authority.
- In the case of a 2019-nCoV suspect on the vessel, the Free Pratique will be issued on board, with the triggering of the local Contingency Plan and the removal of the designated crew member to hospital will be considered if necessary.
Based on the published epidemiological bulletin (Vol. 51, no 04) of the Ministry of Health, any suspected cases should be treated with the use of surgical masks and be isolated.
Any other crew member who comes into contact with the suspected case must wear PPE (surgical mask; eye shield or face shield; gloves; cloak / apron).
#11 Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L, Argentina – 31 January
Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L. issued a circular stating that for the time being Argentina remains a low-risk country.
Yet, the country has implemented from January 31 the obligation to include copies of the last 48 hours of ship’s medical logbook when requesting “free pratique” prior to ship’s arrival.
The country’s Health Authority recommends that in any suspicion that a crewmember or passenger on international voyages may have an infectious disease or any similar symptoms of the Coronavirus should notify the National Boarded Authorities immediately.
In those cases, the sanitary officers will provide the corresponding instructions however the people suspected must be isolated (on a cabin on board or a hotel at shore) and wait for instructions.
So far there are no restrictions for travelling or to trade.
#12 A. Mateos & Sons, Gibraltar – 31 January
The Gibraltar Port Authority demands that the Coronavirus Declaration for-000156 should be completed by every vessel that will call Gibraltar at either the Western Anchorage, East anchorage, North Anchorage, any alongside berth, Quick turnarounds, medical disembarkations, OPLA and OPLB.
The form should be filled in, signed and stamped, with no exemptions.
The Agents must highlight to the captain to fill the form in caution and answer all questions.
Please note that the following special conditions will apply to vessels who have answered yes to any of the questions in the declaration:
- Remote pilotage requirements will be applied to the vessel.
- No crew members will be allowed to disembark the vessel during its call at Gibraltar.
- With respect to ongoing operations shore personnel embarking / attending the vessel will not be allowed then to disembark.
- Shore personnel are to minimise all interaction with the crew as much as practically possible.
The GPA reserves the right to further scrutinise any incoming vessel if it deems necessary in the interest of public health.
Agents will be sent an email from the Vessel Traffic Service Supervisor (VTSS) with a special condition clause, which should be forwarded to the Captain and to service boat operators.
Service boat operators are to limit contact with crew members from the vessels that have been issued the “special condition cause”.
If any vessel declares that crew members are suffering from any sickness in relation to this protocol/declaration, the vessel will be refused clearance at first instance and will be referred to other agencies on a case by case basis.