BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report dated 25 March 2022

COVID 19  3 factors to help you stay safe


This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 25 March covers the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Azerbaijan, China, Panama, Russia, Ukraine, new IMO crew change national focal point of contact, and the latest from  the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Every week, BIMCO summarises measures imposed by governments for sea transport, including for crew change, as well as updates from United Nations bodies such as the IMO, WHO and the ILO. 

1. IMO

The below represent the latest information from the IMO.  

    • Addendum no. 35/rev.11 issued on 22 March 2022 provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers. The latest list of 65 notifications is shown below with the addition of Morocco :

  • The IMO Secretary General, in addition to IMO circular letter no. 4524, which appeared in our weekly COVID-report dated 11 March, has expressed his deep concern via IMO circular letter no. 4524/Add.1, regarding the spillover effects of the military action in Ukraine on global shipping, logistics and supply chains. The security threats to merchant shipping can be found on this NATO link.
  • The IMO held an Extraordinary General Meeting of its Council on 10 and 11 March to discuss the impact of the present conflict situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov ( the "high risk areas")  on shipping and seafarers. Several decisions were made, in particular, an agreement to establish as provisional and urgent measure, a blue safe maritime corridor for the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high risk areas allowing ships to commercially navigate and mobilise as necessary, thus avoiding the military attacks, whilst protecting and securing the maritime domain. As COVID-19 is still ongoing, these decisions would also overlap with measures taken for the pandemic.  In addition, the same measures applicable to protect seafarers during COVID-19 are also applicable here as addressed by the Council to support the seafarers, in particular, as key workers, they are given unrestricted movement with ships allowing to sail from the ports of Ukraine at the earliest opportunity given,  and due to the conflict, it was proposed that government states exempt their seafarers from mandatory military service. 
  • Addendum no. 44  to IMO circular letter No. 4204, issued on 28 February, publishing a joint IMO/ILO/UNCTAD /WHO statement urging continued collaboration to address crew change crisis, safeguard seafarer health and safety, and avoid supply chain disruptions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Addendum no. 4/Rev. 4 to IMO circular letter No. 4204,  issued on 28 February, providing an updated version of the ICS guidance for ship operators for the protection of the health of seafarers.  


2. Government States



The State Maritime and Port Agency Agency via an IMO circular letter no. 4223/Add.8 , advised that an extension till 30 June 2022 is granted for the following: 

  • Validity of STCW certificates of seafarers
  • Endorsements of certificates issued by other governments
  • Seafarer's Identity Document 


According to Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Ltd, the Ministries of Transport, Foreign Affairs and General Customs have jointly issued a document " The Announcement on Effectively Implementing Remote Prevention and Control Measures of the COVID-19 for Vessels Engaged in International Voyages", informing that vessels on international voyages scheduled to conduct crew change at Chinese ports should undertake COVID-19 tests and implement prevention and control measures from 48 hours before their departure from the last overseas port to one day before arriving at Chinese ports. This came into force on 15 February 2022.  See Huatai for a full update


As advised via an IMO circular letter no. 4230/Add.15, the Panama Maritime Authority continues to support seafarers providing the Humanitarian Maritime hub of the Americas for key workers,  allotting 300, 000 vaccines aside for seafarers to receive, regardless of nationality.


1. The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation has granted an extension to 3O June 2022 inclusive on seafarers' certificates and documents which have expired or due to expire. In addition, validity of certificates of competence/endorsements and other relevant STCW certificates will be extended for a 3 months for seafarers on board ships and unable to do the extension. Please read the IMO circular letter no. 4237/Add.27 for full details. 

2. The following has been reported: 

  • According to Skuld report, advisable not to send vessels into the Black Sea due to reports about mines drifting into that area. Turkish authorities have issued a NAVTEX, or navigational alert, against mines that are drifting in the Black Sea. The Turkish Naval Forces' office of navigation issued a statement on March 21 warning ships in the Black Sea against the mines. This news report can be found here.
  • According to North P&I club report based on Ambrey Intelligence, Russian forces have closed the Kerch Strait and strictly regulate which vessels are allowed into the Sea of Azov.  Ambrey understands that these are mostly Russian-flagged vessels and some vessels of other flags on the grain and oil trade to/from Russia.
  • **The following Russian ports are continuing their normal operations:
  • Port Novorossiysk
  • Port Taman
  • Port Tuapse
  • Port Kavkaz
  • Port Sochi
  • Port Anapa
  • Port Gelendzhik
  •  The following Crimean ports are continuing their normal operations
  • Port Kerch
  • Port Sevastopol
  • Port Yalta
  • Port Evpatoriya
  • Port Feodosiya
  •  MARSEC Level No.2 in place
  •  Sea of Azov is still closed for shipping, however, some vessels noted proceeding southbound.
  •  Operations at port Kavkaz anchorage continue with sulphur and coal cargo
  •  Naval exercises in force until 31 March 2022 in following area:

    45 03,5N, 036 17,0E
    44 57,5N, 036 23,0E
    44 45,0N, 036 24,0E
    44 45,0N, 035 50,0E
    45 00,0N, 035 50,0E
  • Naval exercises in force until 30 April 2022 in following areas:

    44 39.0N, 035 51.0E
    44 52.0N, 036 26.0E
    44 06.0N, 036 26.0E
    43 53.0N, 035 28.0E

    44 54.0N, 036 33.0E
    44 09.0N, 036 33.0E
    44 29.0N, 037 33.0E

    Then along the line of territorial waters to 44 54.0N, 036 33.0E

    43 47.0N, 035 48.0E
    44 27.0N, 037 43.0E
    43 26.5N, 037 55.0E
    43 39.0N, 036 55.0E
    43 30.0N, 035 48.0E
  •  Naval exercises in force until 30 April 2022 in the following areas:

    45 21.0N, 032 12.5E
    45 21.0N, 029 46.0E

    Then along the coastline to:

    45 13.5N, 029 43.8E
    45 09.0N, 029 57.6E
    43 46.0N, 034 00.0E
    43 53.0N, 035 48.0E
    44 06.0N, 034 26.0E
    44 52.0N, 036 25.0E

    Then along the line of territorial waters to 45 21.0N, 032 12.5E
  • The Ministry of Agriculture issue Executive Order to ban the export of grain and sugar cargoes from 15 March to 31 August 2022
  •  Restrictions of flights in south and central Russia extended until 26 March 2022
  •  There are no particular restrictions for Ukrainian seafarers in respect of immigration control.
  •  Shore leave is not available “due to present COVID-19 precautionary measures”.
  •  Latest amendments in Russian law, making public calls for extremism and terrorism acts on social media platforms, the internet or in person are punishable crimes. Crew to avoid any comments in respect of the ongoing conflict. Better to avoid politic discussion at all, especially during inward and outward formalities.**

** Source: North P&I club 


The Maritime Administration of Ukraine, together with the Marine Transport Workers Trade Union of Ukraine, provide advice and guidance ( via IMO circular letter no. 4536 ) on the fair treatment of seafarers, in particular at the time of the present Russian-Ukrainian crisis, to assist seafarers with regard to crew changes, repatriation, employment contracts, seafarers' certificates etc. In this advice, it is noted that seafarers would not be able to obtain refugee status under this conflict pursuant to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugee. However, a State wishing to take on the responsibility to grant refugee status should take into account of this as well as the relevant Geneva Conventions that do provide protection.  

According to Skuld P&I Club, for repatriation of Ukrainian crew, it is recommended to avoid repatriating them via Russia or Belarus if possible. If a Ukrainian crew member upon finishing his contract, does not want to return to Ukraine, staying in any of the EU countries is possible and more information is available on the EU Commission website.

Skuld also reported on the following : 

  • All commercial flights to the Ukraine have come to a halt due to the war.
  • For crew of any nationality travelling to or through Russia, it is strongly recommend not to comment either in person or on social media on the current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. Terms like "war", "invasion", etc. should not be used. The crew should even if they feel provoked, not to comment on politics or mention that they want to join the soldiers in Ukraine when dealing with Russian authorities to avoid any consequences that could result in a jail sentence.
  • Odessa Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations; there is also a potential for a significant escalation of the conflict.
  • Pivdenny (Yuzzhny in Russian) Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations; there is also a potential for a significant escalation of the conflict operations.
  • Mykolaiv Port is closed. The cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. This port has seen recent escalation and further escalations are possible.
  • Mariupol Port is closed. The cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. The city of Mariupol is besieged by Russian military, but still under the control of the Ukrainian government.
  • Kherson Port is closed, and the city is occupied by Russian troops. The cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations.
  • Ukrainian Correspondents Dias Marine Consulting remain online and are available.
  • In general, if same is at all commercially possible, it is recommended not to send vessels to the northern Black Sea. 


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

According to GISIS today, the list of countries (52) informing the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium Brazil, Canada, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica ( new), Cyprus, Dominica, Ecuador,Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau ( new), Greece, India, Indonesia, IrelandIsrael, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco  Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden,Thailand , Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu. 


4. ILO


The International Labour Organization  (ILO) issued the following on maritime labour issues and COVID-19:


5. World Health Organization (WHO)

On 21 January 2022,  WHO issued an updated global technical brief and priority action required for Member states to enhance readiness for Omicron ( B.1.1.529), of which WHO has given an overview.  The overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons (eg significant growth advantage over Delta leading to rapid spread in the community) and continuing to result in significant increases in hospitalisation as well as posing overwhelming demands on health care systems in most countries. The rise is also due to evidence indicating immune evasion causing the quick spread of Omicron and research efforts are ongoing to better understand Omicron’s escape potential against vaccine- and infection induced immunity.  A risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner is recommended and efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage as rapidly as possible should continue. See WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant for additional information.

Please see BIMCO-WHO for more information.


6. Others 

There is no news issued for this week. 


    7. BIMCO

    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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