Coronavirus (COVID-19) - crew change challenges

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - crew change challenges

Overview

In the wake of COVID-19 have the BIMCO received a number of reports and circulars with imposed restrictions intended to keep the virus at bay. These restrictions have proven to disturb crew mobility. In this page, we'll guide our members on the ship/shore interface restriction regimes BIMCO is aware of

Since the first reports of restrictions associated with COVID-19 were received by the BIMCO secretariat, a clear picture slowly emerged: The preventive measures would prove a significant disturbance to all crewing operations, such as:

  • If the crew are unable to disembark the ship due to recent port calls, they must stay on board
  • If the replacing crew is unable to enter the country for scheduled crew change due to their country of origin, some crew will have to remain on board on mutually agreed extended contracts
  • If service engineers are unable to access the ship, they cannot perform their specialised maintenance which could jeopardise the proper function of the ship´s equipment

Initially, the restrictions mainly targeted Chinese citizens without even considering whether they had spent several months on board prior to the outbreak. When COVID-19 started local circulation in other countries than China, the restriction regimes gradually changed to include new clusters.

In general, restrictions are either depending on:

  • Travel history
  • Nationalities

If the restrictions are depending on travel history, it is important to take the following into account:

  • Where has the crew been recently and at which ports has the ship called?
  • What is the travel history for supernumeraries such as:
    • Cargo superintendents
    • Passengers
    • Accompanying spouses and children
    • Guards – if employed on other ships recently, these itineraries should also be considered

If restrictions are depending on nationalities, it is important to take the following into account:

  • What are the nationalities of the crew on board?
  • What is the ship’s country of registry?

It is important to keep in mind that even though the incubation period for COVID-19 is generally accepted as being within two weeks, several countries are imposing even longer restrictions.

In the following sections, please find non-exhaustive lists of imposed restrictions to crew mobility in the ship/shore interface. Moreover it doesn't necessarily take into account any quarantine period applied to disembarking seafarers. The information provided is obtained from local agents and available public data. However, port authorities and port state health authorities can impose or change regimes with little to no notice. To get the extended information, we kindly refer to our designated COVID-19 page.

Crew change clause

Considering the the current situation with limited flights and closed borders, owners might find it impossible to perform crew change and receive specialised technicians onboard their ships. To cope with these challenges we recommend considering applying BIMCO's newly released Crew change clause, which provides the contractual provisions to perform these operations.

 

Section 1 - crew change allowed

Albania Crew change is allowed subject to fulfilling certain conditions -refer to our implementation page for Albania for details. 
Argentina While Argentina's borders are closed for foreigners, ship's crew are excepted from the provisions in presidential decree 274/2020. Other restrictions may apply.
Aruba Please refer to our implementation page for details.
Australia Regional restrictions may apply in individual states, please consult the implementation page and Shipping Australia for more details
Azores  Crew changes allowed but subject to co-ordination/permit from the Health Authority and on a case-by-case basis. See implementation page for full details
Bahamas Cargo ships - and their crew - are exempted from the disembarkation restrictions in the Bahamian Emergency Powers
Belgium
Brazil Provided repatriation takes place the day of disembarkation. Foreigners are restricted in entry to Brazil
Benin  Please refer to our implementation page for certain conditions to be fulfilled
Bermuda  Please refer to our implementation page for the conditions to be fulfilled.
Bulgaria Transport personnel are exempted from travel restrictions. Ships must be isolated 14 days before berthing if arriving from affected countries
Canada
Chile Information kindly provided by IMEC as at 29 July 2020. Please also see our implementation page for updates if any.
China Confirmed opening in Shanghai 8 October
Croatia Suspension of receipt of the visa application does not apply to [...] transport personnel
Cyprus
Denmark
Egypt International flights allowed 
Equatorial Guinea Yes, with conditions to be fulfilled. Please refer to our implementation page for details 
Estonia
EU+ While the external borders of the EU is closed, the provisions should not apply to "transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary"
Finland
Georgia  
Germany
Gibraltar
Hong Kong, SAR
Iceland The entry ban on foreign citizens does not apply to transportation crew
India  
Indonesia
Ireland Seafarers are categorized as essential workers and for this reason exempted from travel restrictions
Israel
Jamaica Clear transit along the route should be verified
Lebanon Rigid crew change restrictions in place
Liberia Possible restrictions. See our implementation page for details. 
Kenya  
Korea, Republic of According to news pieces coming from the Korean Immigration office, are crew vise excepted from other visa restrictions
Latvia Seafarers are excepted from the entry restrictions
Lithuania The quarantine restrictions apply differently to transportation crew
Malaysia
Subject to COVID-19 test result 
Malta Crew change allowed subject to list of safe corridor countries.
Marshall Islands Subject to fulfilling certain conditions. Please refer to our implementation page for details. 
Netherlands, the
New Zealand  
Nigeria See marine notice - MN 05/20/SN02 issued by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)
Norway Crew change operations is possible, though quarantine restrictions may apply
Panama  
Philippines  
Portugal
 
Reunion Island
Russia
Singapore Conditions apply 
Slovenia Seafarers are categorized as essential workers and for this reason exempted from travel restrictions
South Africa See implementation page - MN Notice No. 40 dated 22 August 2020 for conditions to be fulfilled 
Spain
St. Lucia
From 9 July
Sweden While the Swedish borders are closed, the provisions do not apply to EEA or Swiss citizens, persons involved in the transportation of goods or persons in transit
Taiwan
Timor-Leste Although Timor-Leste is in a State of Emergency, the provisions restricting foreigners from entry does not apply to employees on oil platforms or persons involved in the transportation of goods
Turkey  
Ukraine Transport personnel are excepted from the entry restrictions
United Arab Emirates Crew change allowed in all UAE ports from 2 August 2020.
United Kingdom
United States of America On a federal level merchant mariners are classified as essential workers. State restrictions may apply
Yemen  See our implementation page for details 

Section 2 - restrictions depending on travel history

Belize

Сhіnа

Ноng Коng, SAR

Іrаn

Јараn

Коrеа, Republic of

Еurоре

Grenada

China

Europe, incl. UK and Ireland

Iran

Korea, Republic of

Japan

Details can be found on the designated page

Kuwait

China

Hong Kong, SAR

Iran

Iraq

Italy

Japan

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Thailand

Myanmar

China

Korea, Republic of

Qatar

China

Not otherwise specified

Saudi Arabia

Bahrain

China

Djibouti

Egypt

Eritrea

Ethiopia

India

Iraq

Kenya

Korea

Kuwait

Lebanon

Pakistan

Philippines

Somalia 

South Sudan

Sri Lanka

Sudan

Sultanate of Oman

Switzerland

Syria

Turkey

UAE

European Union

Sudan

China

Not otherwise specified

Suriname

China

Trinidad and Tobago

China

Iran

Italy

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Uruguay

China

France

Germany

Iran

Italy

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Spain

United States of America

High risk countries as identified by WHO

Section 3 - restrictions depending on nationalities

Argentina

European Union

Islamic Republic of Iran

Japan

Mainland China

Korea, Republic of

Schengen Area

United Kingdom

United States of America

Bangladesh

Europe

Ivory Coast

Countries with more than 100 cases - overview for reference

Japan Details can be found on the designated page
Myanmar

China

Togo

Affected countries (Not otherwise specified)

Section 4 - crew change is prohibited or borders are closed

Algeria
Angola Crew change prohibited due to closure of borders and strict quarantines. However unclear as there appears to be exceptions for entry and exit of cargoes. 
Argentina crew change still remain suspended due to closure of borders and limited flights
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belize
Bonaire
Cameroon
China

Foreign crew are prohibited from changing in China, Chinese crew are allowed to change.

Special conditions apply for Hong Kong, SAR

Congo, DR
Czech Republic Including outbound Czech citizens
Dominican Republic
El Salvador Please refer to our implementation page for further details.
Gabon Reportedly no obstructions to crew change
Gambia
Ghana
Greece
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
Italy Italian citizens are exepted from the restrictions
Kazakhstan Until 15 April
Libya
Madagascar
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Namibia
Oman Crew change allowed under special circumstances
Pakistan
Peru Until at least 12 April
Poland
Qatar Mesaieed Port
Saba Until 10 May
Sri Lanka Due to imported cases, crew change has been suspended temporarily since 24 June. Disembarkation of foreign seafarers is permitted.
St. Eustatius
Serbia
Slovakia
Trinidad and Tobago Until at least 15 May
United Arab Emirates

Crew change allowed under special circumstances

Venezuela
Vietnam  
Johan Conrad
in Copenhagen, DK

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