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, 12 February 2021

1. IMO


IMO has issued the following circular:

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 4 to IMO circular letter no. 4204, issued on 5 February 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
  • Addendum no.19/rev.3  to IMO circular letter no. 4204, issued on 8 February 2021 providing revised guiding principles on when to permit statutory certificate extension beyond 3 months or issuing short-term certificates. 

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, Bahamas, 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.22

Additional details available on our implementation page.

3. Government States



China updated its Guidance on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 on board with its 5th version ( via IMO circular letter no. 4221/Add.8 dated 10 February 2021) introducing new precautionary measures for seafarers as well as prevention and control measures for ships engaged in cold chain logistics and in the container transportation of high-risk non-cold chain goods. 


The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry of Transport (SDM) issued new circular ( 4/2021)  on 14 January 2021, effecting new procedures for crew changes which in summary, are as follows : 
    • No approval required from SDM for crew changes if crew members in the 14 days before their arrival were in countries belonging to categories A or B or were onboard ships  which did not dock at any port or were onboard ships that docked at ports of countries belonging to categories A or B. Crew changes would be executed with existing measures and procedures applicable to people from the two categories
    • Applications for crew changes released (signed off) discharged from merchant or other vessels should be submitted by the interested companies to the Shipping Deputy Ministry, at the email
      address and should include:

      1.Name of ship and IMO number (if applicable)
      2. Port or port facility in Cyprus
      3. Name(s) of crew member(s)
      4. Details of departure flight
      5. Location of residence in Cyprus (if applicable)
      • No approval required for crew changes between vessels ( which do not involve the embarkation/disembarkation of any crew members). 
  • For flights involving crew members, Cyprus flight pass should be obtained before boarding the plane and before arrival and crew members arriving from a country other than categories A and B, may arrange for flight pass through ship agent or ship/company representative. 


The Libyan Ports & Maritime Authority informing the IMO via a circular IMO letter no. 4380, of  the following COVID-19 measures taken:

  • extension of the certificates of seafarers that would otherwise have expired during the period from 26 March and 1 October 2020 for a period of 6 months from expiry date.
  • extension of seafarer's employment agreement 
  • extension/postponement of ship's surveys, audits, inspection etc. 

Please refer to the said IMO circular for full details. 

Saudi Arabia

Via an IMO circular letter no. 4243/Add.1, the Saudi Arabian Transport General Authority issued circulars relating to extension of the validity of seafarer's maritime Seaman's book and medical certificate expiring on or before 15 April 2021 to 3 months from date of expiry.  


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore informing the IMO via a circular letter no. 4383 of their experiences to-date with regard to vaccinations for key maritime personnel. 


Effective 6 February 2021, the requirement to present a negative covid-19 test result is not applicable to seafarers. Full details are available on the Swedish Police Authority page. Note that decision in each case is made upon arrival at the border control point hence no pre-approvals or written notification will be issued. In addition, questions and answers about the Swedish entry ban can be found here ( ref: IMO circular letter no. 4245/Add.8) 


The US Coast Guard issued mandatory mask requirement via an MSIB 02-21 on COVID-19 Safety Requirements in the Maritime Transportation System requiring all persons travelling on all commercial vessels to wear a mask, failing which, a Captain of the Port (COTP) order may be issued directing the vessel’s movement and operations and repeated failure to impose the mask mandate could result in civil penalties and/or criminal action. To understand the implementation better, see Coast Guard Maritime Commons for guidance. 

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

4. Others 


The UK P&I club updated its comprehensive guide " Global Crew Change Advice" (version 1.9 dated 11 February 2021) offering details relating to crew changes at most coastal states. A complete listing of their updates is available here


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


Access BIMCO's COVID-19 related articles and advice.

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The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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