BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report


The BIMCO Maritime Information department informs members on a weekly basis, updates about the COVID-19 in relation to implementation measures imposed by governments for sea transport including for crew change as well as from the United Nation bodies like the International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO).

BIMCO provides the following update for this week ending Friday, 29 January 2021

1. IMO

IMO has issued the following circular:

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 3 issued on 25 January 2021 provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers. The full list is available on the implementation page 

2. IMO Crew Change - National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers

As of today, the countries that have informed the IMO of the above are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu

Reference: MSC.7/circ.1/Rev.21

Additional details available on our implementation page.

3. Government States


Certificates of competency, certificates of proficiency and documentary evidences issued by the Republic of Cyprus with expiration date between 01/03/2020 and 29/06/2021 shall be considered valid until 30/06/2021 ( ref: Cyprus's Shipping Deputy Ministry circular no. 1/2021 issued via an IMO circular letter no. 4251/Add.2).


A temporary flight ban from Dubai has been extended until 2 February included.


Georgia's Maritime Transport Agency informing the IMO via an IMO circular letter no. 4232/Add.9 of the following: 

  • Certificates of Competency or Proficiency, Seamen’s books expiring during the period of 1st January 2021 to 30th of April 2021, shall automatically be renewed until 30th of June 2021. 
  • Medical certificates of seafarers, who are now engaged in international navigation and whose certificates are expiring by 30th of April 2020, shall automatically be renewed until 30th of June 2021.


Italy informing the IMO (via IMO circular letter no. 4231/Add.16) of the country's confirmation to designate seafarers as " key workers" and requesting that it be added to the list of those countries designating seafarers as "key workers". 

Via an IMO circular letter no. 4231/Add.17, Italy is extending the validity of the Italian seafarers' two-year examination certificate to 90 days following the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency which is set for 30 April 2021. 


The Norwegian Maritime Authority has issued a revision to the crew change protocols which provides certain requirements for:

  • Registration
  • Testing
  • Quarantine

A PCR test prior to arrival is generally required. However, further testing after arrival may be required depending on the travel history.


The Department of Transportation issued an updated list of identified countries. If a foreign seafarer has a recent travel history to the identified countries, entry to the Philippines is restricted, while Filipino seafarers with recent travel history to the identified countries are subject to quarantine restrictions.

Details available on the implementation page


CrewSafe accredited facility - The Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience Fund Taskforce (SFTF) has developed a CrewSafe audit programme that endeavour to assist crew source nations to bring a higher level of confidence and quality control checks into crew change processes such as quarantine/holding, medical and swabbing facilities. Please refer to the attached for more information regarding the CrewSafe audit programme and a list of CrewSafe accredited facilities. 

According to GAC Singapore, sign-on crew who undergo the protocol under these CrewSafe accredited facilities located overseas, his/her crew change application may be given the following concessions:

Submission of crew change application must be made at least 7 days in advance, instead of 14 days. 


  • The crew must not have gone ashore in the last 21 days before disembarking the ship, must have remained well and not had contact with any known or suspect case of COVID-19 throughout that period. 
  • The crew shall refrain from interacting with shore-based personnel at previous ports of call in the last 21 days

St. Eustatius

The local administration has outlined testing requirements as per the attached. At least a PCR test and in many cases also a quick antigen test is required prior to departure.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Effective from 18 January 2021, the Maritime Administration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will consider extensions/postponements of the following : 

  • scheduled statutory surveys, ship’s dry docking surveys or servicing of ship’s equipment as required by the IMO Conventions
  • Ship's certificates ( ISM, MLC, ISPS etc )
  • Seafarers' Employment Agreements and repatriation and STCW certificates

Full details are in the IMO circular letter no. 4248/Add.10.

For further details on additional countries, please refer to our implementation page.


BIMCO General COVID-19 Links 

BIMCO is continuously monitoring COVID-19 restrictions and its impact on the shipping industry in particular on crew changes. Below are some of the type of information  currently being provided by BIMCO :

You can also view all information on our COVID-19 landing page.

Ai Cheng Foo-Nielsen
in Copenhagen, DK


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