BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report dated 20 May 2022

COVID 19  3 factors to help you stay safe


This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 20 May covers the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including crew change national contact point, China, Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine , and the latest from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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, ILO and the Port State Control MoU regimes. 

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



Members were informed on 20 April to go to the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration 's special section with overview of local restrictions and requirements for crew change.  Gard P&I club has provided the following information regarding current COVID-19 restrictions in Chinese Ports which BIMCO hopes can assist further with clarity regarding the various operational restrictions imposed. 

Current Covid-19 restrictions in Chinese ports

Oasis P&I recently published circular No. 2204 covering the current Covid-19 restrictions in many Chinese ports. We summarise below the restrictions currently in place:

  • Surveyors’ attendance: For most Chinese ports surveyors’ attendance on board is not permitted, although some ports allow surveyors who are members of the ports’ covid-19 control management, also known as close loop management, to board vessels. In some ports and shipyards where boarding is allowed, surveyors have to undergo a period of quarantine afterwards.
  • Crew change: Chinese crew change is allowed in all Chinese ports. However, non-Chinese crew change is only possible some major ports like Shanghai, Tianjin and Qingdao subject to local authorities’ approval. The full or partial lockdowns/static management in some areas may make it challenging and even impractical to arrange crew changes.
  • Local Covid-19 control policy: The local requirement varies from port to port. In general, PCR tests are required for all or some of the crew for vessels that have crew change within 14 days of arrival at a Chinese port and for vessels/crew that have called at/travelled to high-risk areas. In some ports, vessels may be asked to fulfil a period of quarantine before getting alongside for cargo operations or ship repair. Some ports even require ships to be disinfected before berthing.
  • Handling of positive cases: In most ports, it is allowed to disembark Chinese crew who have tested positive while it  remains impossible to disembark non-Chinese crew who have tested positive. Some ports may reject the entry of vessels for scheduled cargo operations or repair work if there are confirmed cases of Covid-19 on board.


 The Maritime Industry Authority, Department of Transportation has informed the IMO via an IMO circular letter no. 4237/Add.28 dated 13 May 2022), that seafarer's Identification and Record Book (SIRB) as per Marina Advisory No. 2022 -18, will be extended for a period of one year from the date of expiry for those seafarers' SRIB expiring between 1 January 2022 and 31 July 2022 without the need to file an application. 


Effective 1 May 2022, the following changes have been implemented by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore ( MPA): 

  • New port marine circular (PMC)no. 12/2022 on requirements for vessels arriving in the port of Singapore during COVID-19 relating to contactless operations with or without segregation protocols ( Annex A) and ship's requirement to establish and apply procedures and adequate controls for the safety of shore based personnel and ship's crew ( Annex B). Note that PCR test results taken by any of the vessel crew at their last port of call must be submitted to MPA (email: before vessel's arrival in Singapore. This PMC circular supersedes PMC no. 5/2022
  • Changes to pre-arrival notification (PAN) have been implemented requiring all ships calling at the Port of Singapore to provide more information  due to amendments being made to the criteria for the Green Port Programme. The revised PAN must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to arrival in Singapore and a separate Notice of Arrival will not be required to be submitted. Full details are available in the  PMC no. 11/2022 which supersedes PMC no. 26/2021.  


The Ukrainian government has informed the IMO that due to the war in Ukraine where charterers, operators and/or owners of seagoing and inland waterway vessels have suffered damage in the waters of Ukrainian ports, compensation is available in cases where insurers have refused to provide coverage. Please see the IMO circular letter no. 4556 for full information. 

In addition, the Ukrainian government has also announced via an IMO circular letter no. 4557, that seaports of Berdiansk, Kherson, Mariupol and Skadovsk are closed and will only resume once they are able to regain control from the Russian armed forces.

The Ukrainian government has also advised that due to Russian invasion of the Berdiansk Nyzhnii Lighthouse facility, the Ukrainian Berdiansk NAVTEX Coastal station is currently out of control and communication to the said station is terminated by the Ukrainian government and has issued a warning to properly inform all seafarers. Full details are available in an IMO circular letter no. 4567


3. World Health Organization (WHO)


On 30 March, WHO updated their Strategic, Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan ( SPRP) for COVID-19 in 2022 , setting out a number of key strategic adjustments for implementation at national, regional and global levels which will enable the world to end the acute phase of the pandemic, if these adjustments are implemented rapidly and consistently. 

On 13 April, the International Health Regulatons Emergency Committee held their 11th meeting  issuing 11 temporary recommendations to governments, which also involved the SPRP plan, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Please see BIMCO-WHO for more information.


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

According to GISIS today, the list of countries (56) informing the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers are: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands)  the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium Brazil, Canada, Chile Cook Islands, Costa Rica Cyprus, Dominica, Ecuador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-BissauGreece, 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 , Sint Maarten ( Kingdom of the Netherlands) ,  Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand , Tunisia, Ministry of Transport ( new), Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu. 


5. Port State Control - MOU 

Due to the situation in Ukraine, collective guidance harmonising the Port State Control activities ( PSC) has now been issued by the Indian Ocean, Paris, and Tokyo MoU on PSC and Vina del Mar Agreement relating to the repatriation of seafarers. Full information can be found in an IMO circular letter no. 4524/Add.2 dated 31 March 2022. 

See also BIMCO Port State Control Regimes- MOU 


6. ILO


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


7. Others 

There is no news issued under this section for this week.  


    8. 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.

TheUK P&I Club's version 1.37 covers update on Singapore.
Ai Cheng Foo-Nielsen
in Copenhagen, DK


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