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Coronavirus Outbreak: How shipping deals with it

Coronavirus Outbreak: How shipping deals with it

Following WHO’s declare on global emergency after the outbreak of the coronavirus, many maritime authorities in the shipping industry have issued information on the case, providing details on the current situation.

#1 Singapore Shipping Association, Singapore – 28 January

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has implemented temperature screening at all sea checkpoints, including ferry and cruise terminals, PSA Terminals and Jurong Port, for inbound travellers since 24 January 2020, 12pm.

Travellers and ship crew arriving at sea checkpoints will undergo temperature screening conducted by on-site healthcare assistants. Suspect cases will be referred to the hospitals for further assessment.

MPA has put up health advisories at the sea checkpoints to advise travellers and ship crew on the precautionary measures to take when travelling, as well as to remain vigilant and adopt good hygiene practices at all times.

#2 Budd Group, France – 28 January

On January 27 the Port of Maerseille-Fos confirmed that the sea links between Wuhan and Dourges have been suspended and advising that the flyer should be distributed to all vessels which have called in China.

The flyer advises that anyone suffering from the symptoms of a respiratory illness should:

  • Wear a surgical mask when others are present;
  • Use disposable tissues and wash hands regularly;
  • Contact the French medical emergency services (SAMU – call “15”) and tell them of any journey to Wuhan (or China).
  • To reduce the risk transmission, people with novel coronavirus-type symptoms are requested not to go to a hospital or general practitioner

#3 Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd, China – 29 January


We have checked with China MSA and noted that no Chinese sea port had been officially announced lockdown, except for the inland river port of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated.

Also, it is reported that following the public holidays’ expansion to February 2nd, along with the ports taking stricter prevention and control measures to deal with the virus, the loading/discharging rate may slow down.

They suggest Members whose vessels are scheduled to call at Chinese ports in the near future, to keep close contact with their local agent so as to get the latest port information, and to remind their crewmembers to take necessary protection measures.

#4 Patriot Maritime Compliance, LLC., USA – New Orleans – 28 January

According to MSIB XX-20, the USCG / COTP of New Orleans require:

Vessels calling within COTP sector will receive an email if the submitted ‘Notice of Arrival’ declares that the vessel has called to China within last five ports of call.

If any of the crew are exhibiting symptoms it must be reported as a ‘hazardous condition’ as defined in 33 CFR 160.216.

Failure to report the above can lead to a civil penalty of up to $94,219.

#5 Inchcape Shipping Services, Kuwait – 29 January

The shipping stakeholder highlights that

All ship Masters coming directly or transiting China ports, are kindly requested to ensure to provide us a statement that no symptoms was observed such as high temperature, sore throat, coughing or breathing difficulties. Therefore, we appreciate to inform port authority immediately if such case take place onboard.

#6 Mutual Marine Services – al Mushtaraka LLC, United Arab Emirates – January 30

Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime Circular (2) 2020:

All UAE ports must ensure that any vessel that has visited a Chinese port in previous 30 days must provide a Master’s statement that crew are free from symptoms. This must be provided at least 3 days prior to arrival.

#7 Hudson Tactix, USA – Delaware Bay – January 31

MSIB 04-20 reminds of the following requirements:

  1. The master of a ship destined for the Delaware Bay Captain of the Port zone shall report to the CDC, the occurrence, on board, of any death or any ill person among passengers or crew (including those who have disembarked or have been removed) during the 15-day period preceding the date of expected arrival in accordance with 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CPR)§ 71.21. The CDC Philadelphia Station can be reached 24 hours a day at (215) 365-6401.
  2. Also, under 33 CPR. § 160.216, the owner, agent, master, operator, or person in charge of a vessel is required to immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard Sector whenever there is a hazardous condition aboard the vessel.

While the presence of a person with Coronavirus like symptoms does not by itself constitute a hazardous condition, vessel operators should report suspected cases or other unusual circumstances whenever they are in doubt.

Vessel masters should inform Coast Guard and Customs boarding teams of any ill crewmembers onboard.

#8 Hudson Tactix, USA – Federal (All States) – 31 January

The USCG has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin MSIB 01-20 stating:

  1. Vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased crew/passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC under 42 CFR 71.21. Regional CDC quarantine station points of contact can be found here.
  2. The Coast Guard will continue to review all “Notice of Arrivals” in accordance with current policies and will communicate any concerns stemming from sick or deceased crew or passengers to their Coast Guard chain of command and the CDC quarantine station who will coordinate with local health authorities.
  3. Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crewmembers on board their vessel prior to the Coast Guard embarking and Boarding Teams should verify vessel illnesses with CDC if concerns arise.
  4. Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with section 5310 Procedures for Vessel Quarantine and Isolation, and Section 5320 – Procedures for Security Segregation of Vessels in their Area Maritime Security Plan.
  5. Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with their Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan.

#9 Aus Ship P&I Australia – 31 January

Aus Ship P&I has come to understand that additional measures are now being introduced in some Ports across the State of NSW to combat the risk of the virus spreading from vessels which have recently called into mainland China. Ports in other states across Australia are expected to follow suit in due course.

When completing pre-arrival reporting to the Australian Biosecurity Department, (usually undertaken via the MARS system) vessels will now be issued with the attached fact sheet concerning the virus.

The Biosecurity Department is also requesting ships agents clarify the following information, should their vessels have recently called into a port in mainland China:

  1. The Date the vessel departed China;
  2. Ports called into between departing China and arriving in Australia;
  3. Declarations as to whether any sick personnel are on board;
  4. Declaration of the previous 5 ports of call;

Further to the above, where vessels affected berth in Australian ports, vessels may expect heightened bio-security/quarantine measures being implemented; including:

  1. Australian Biosecurity Department personnel attending the vessel wearing full body protection /HAZMAT style gear;
  2. Stevedores wearing masks and other protective gear, and being instructed to keep distance and avoid contact with crew where possible;
  3. Ships agents may carry out procedures from the wharf instead of boarding the affected vessels, so as to minimise potential contamination risk;
  4. Seafarers aboard affected vessels may be barred from leaving the vessel.

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