The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on the 30 January 2020 in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China.

Therefore, several countries have implemented measures to reduce the exposure and transmission of the virus to their citizens. This also impacts shipping.

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For its side, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has received inquiries from vessel managers with regards to difficulties completing planned crew changes. Now, seeking acceptance for crew to continue service on board in cases where certificate of competence, health certificate etc is outdated and/or to exceed MLC service threshold.

The NMA considers this to be a situation outside of the vessel managers control

It also added that valid until further notice, the NMA issues a general acceptance of crew members to continue service on board Norwegian vessel until a suitable arrangement can be made. As a result, it called vessel managers to resolve the situation as soon as possible and complete crew change at first opportunity.

We further strongly advice vessel managers to seek guidance from local authorities in due time before arrival port on restrictions and other preventive measures currently in effect

NMA concluded.

As of February 10, the new coronavirus has cost the lives of 910 people, while confirmed cases exceed 40,00 across China. What is more, except from China, coronavirus cases have been reported in other countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and Japan, in Australia, Germany, France, the US and Canada among others.