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Hot Port News from GAC

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Hot Port News from GAC


Cape Town, South Africa


Sri Lanka

Port Qasim, Pakistan



Philadelphia, United States

Delaware Bay & River, United States

Baltimore, United States


Invergordon, United Kingdom



Kiel Canal, Germany

Lowestoft, United Kingdom

Durban, South Africa

Paradip, India

COVID-19: Two ships under investigation
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Cape Town, South Africa

South African port landlord Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has confirmed two vessels in the Port of Cape Town are being held off port limits after a crew member onboard one of the vessels began to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. It was later established he had been on a flight with a fellow crew member and six passengers who went on to board a cruise vessel at the port.

This is the first suspected case of COVID-19 in a South African sea-port. The two crew members had flown into the country from Istanbul, Turkey on 9 March. Only one of the two is showing signs of being ill, however both have been placed into isolation onboard the general cargo vessel, MV Corona.

MV Corona left the Port of Cape Town on Wednesday, 11 March. On Friday, 13 March the Master of this vessel contacted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and the Port Health unit of the National Department of Health, confirming one crew member was exhibiting symptoms and requesting that the vessel returns to the Port of Cape Town for evacuation. Permission was granted by both Authorities.

Upon arrival on Monday, 16 March 2020, the vessel waited off port limits. MRCC, Port Health and the Harbour Master of the Port of Cape Town have coordinated efforts to evacuate both crew members by arranging with the Airforce helicopters for the suspected crew member to be transported to hospital.

Six passengers on-board the Italian flagged MV AidAmira passenger vessel had been on the same flight as the crew members of the MV Corona. However, according to the Master and the Doctor onboard the passenger liner, the six have shown no symptoms of the virus but are in isolation and being monitored continuously.

Meanwhile, the MV. AidAmira ship has been operating between Port of Cape Town and Namibia (Walvis Bay) this cruise season. The vessel sailed on Friday, 13 March from the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia with 1240 passengers and a total crew of 486 on board. The ship was on her voyage back to the Port of Cape Town, when TNPA was informed by Port Health Cape Town that six passengers had been on the same flight as the two MV Corona crew members.

The Master of the MV AidAmira immediately quarantined the six passengers to prevent the spread of the infection to other passengers and crew onboard. The ship arrived outside the Port of Cape Town on 15 March 2020. A Joint Operation Centre (JOC) was set up on 16 March 2020 inclusive of TNPA Harbour Master, SAMSA (MRCC), Port Health and a Specialist Doctor. After careful consideration of the facts by the JOC, the vessel was permitted to dock on the 16 March 2020.

The six passengers have been evacuated and taken to the hospital for testing and thereafter will be taken to a quarantined area arranged by Port Health Officials. The rest of the passengers would remain quarantined on board until the test results for the six are received, thereafter a decision will be made based on the results.

So far only one of the two crew members on-board the MV CORONA has shown symptoms of being sick and no passengers or crew onboard MV AIDAmira are exhibiting any symptoms.

Transnet National Ports Authority is responsible for ensuring that all vessels have been cleared by relevant state organs namely, Port Health, Migration, MRCC and customs before entering or leaving the Port.

TNPA is also tasked with ensuring compliance of safety of navigation of vessels, safety of life and safety of environment in the Port.

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in South Africa contact GAC South Africa at shipping.capetown@gac.com)

Source: Transet media statement dated 17 March 2020

Additional measures to strengthen response to COVID-19
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Namibia

Namibia has declared a State of Emergency and announced additional measures to curtail the spread of the COVID-19.

These measures include:

Suspension of the issuance of visa on arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport and implementation travel ban of foreign nationals (by air and sea) from affected countries (Schengen States, China, Iran, Korea, United Kingdom, United States of America and Japan).

Temporary travel suspension for 30 days for Namibians or Permanent Residents functionaries except for special cases with prior authorization with Ministry of Health and Social Services and Home Affairs and Immigration. Exceptional cases will include, persons seeking medical treatment, essential services like humanitarian assistance, truck drivers bringing food and other essential commodities, Namibians returning among others. Compulsory screening will be conducted for verification and quarantine imposed were necessary.

All leisure, business and social travel is suspended.

All international scheduled flights, private chartered flights to only land at Hosea Kutako International and Walvis Bay International Airports.

All scheduled passenger flights, including private chartered flights to and from countries where there is active local transmission are temporarily suspended for 30 days. This suspension is exclusive of cargo and emergency flights to and from Namibia.

Mandatory screening for COVID-19 to be conducted at all Points of Entry in the country. Thermo guns to be placed at all checkpoints and roadblocks for screening inland travelers.

Returning Namibians and permanent residents arriving from countries at high risk or from affected other countries will be subject to supervised self-quarantine from 14 days (self-quarantine for mild/asymptomatic persons).

South African Borders, including Air Travel to remain open to serve as points of entry for Namibians returning home and exit point for visitors from Namibia, and to facilitate trade between the two countries.

Large public gatherings, schools, religious gatherings, weddings, parades, etc. suspended. Trade fairs, sports, events, and demonstrations postponed.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Namibia contact GAC Namibia at shipping.walvisbay@gac.com

Airports to close to arriving international passenger flights
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Sri Lanka

As per instructions issued by Sri Lanka Health Authorities, all International Airports in Sri Lanka will be closed for operations of inward international commercial passenger flights (i.e. arrivals) with effect from 0400 hours on 19 March 2020 until 2359 hours on 25 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka).
This will be reviewed by Sri Lanka Authorities.

During the above-mentioned restricted period the following will be permitted:

Aircraft departures with passengers originating from Colombo, stop overs, transit passengers or visiting tourists.
Emergency diversions to BIA (Bandaranaike International Airport).
Freighter operations and humanitarian flights to BIA.
Technical landings at BIA.
Inbound ferry flights (without passengers) at BIA.
Further information will be provided as received from government.

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Sri Lanka, contact GAC Sri Lanka at srilanka@gac.com)

Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka https://www.caa.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=158&Itemid=1694

Maintaining of record
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Port Qasim, Pakistan

Port Qasim is taking all preventive measures to provide pollution free environment to the ships in PQA limits. Following documents are required to be maintained by all the ship owners/agents during transportation as per MARPOL Conventions:
I. Advance Notification Form (ANF)/Waste Deliver Receipt
II. Oil Record Book-1 (Tanker 150 GT & above
III. Oil Record Book 11 (Tanks 150 GT & above)
IV. Garbage Mangement Plan
V. Garbage Record Book

(For information about operations in Pakistan, contact GAC Pakistan at pakistan@gac.com)

Source: Port Qasim Authority letter dated 11 March 2020

Ban on foreign nationals entering the country
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Taiwan

From 0000 hours local time tomorrow (19 March), all foreign nationals are forbidden to entry Taiwan, except for those holding residence permit, diplomatic official certifications, business performance certifications or other authorized persons.

All personnel accepted entry must follow a 14 days period of home quarantine after entering Taiwan.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Taiwan, contact GAC Taiwan at taiwan@gac.com

Movement Control Order implemented
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Malaysia

The [Malaysian] government has decided to implement the Movement Control Order effective 18 March until 31 March.

All government and public premises will be closed except those involved in “essential services” which, as defined by Industrial Relations Act 1967, includes:
i. Transport services by land, water or air;
ii. Port, dock, harbor and airport services and undertakings, including stevedoring, lighterage, cargo handling, pilotage and storing or bulking of commodities.

From the statement above, it is clear that shipping businesses activities will not be affected from the restriction. However, it is advisable for all shipowners to temporarily case signing on/off for shipping crews during this Movement Control Order period, especially foreign crews…

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Malaysia, contact GAC Malaysia at shipping.malaysia@gac.com)

Source: Extract from Malaysia Shipowners’ Association (MASA) letter dated 17 March 2020

New restrictions announced, ports remain open
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Philadelphia, United States

Philadelphia officials have announced new restrictions on commercial activity in the city lasting through at least March 27. Specifically, only essential commercial establishments should remain open during this time.

According to a clarifying proclamation, “port and port-related functions” are designated as essential. Ports are open and operating as normal.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com

Protective measures for pilots
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Delaware Bay & River, United States

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve, we are requesting the following protective measures to help ensure the safety of the members of the Pilots’ Association for the Bay and River Delaware, as well as agents, vessel crew members and the regional port community:

We request that the bridge and its related equipment be cleaned and sanitized prior to the pilot’s arrival for both inbound and outbound transits. Further, the sanitizing of other shared spaces including, but not limited to, the bridge WC, pilot cabin, and elevator should be effected before arrival at the pilot station or departure from berth/anchorage.

Shipboard personnel are requested to adhere to a two (2) meter minimum distance from the pilot from the time they board until disembarkation. This includes all interaction with the Master and the bridge team during the transit. Additionally, it is requested that only essential personnel be allowed on the bridge during this time.

All other interaction including, but not limited to, the signing of documents and the use of shipboard facilities, services, and bridge equipment will be left to the discretion of the assigned pilot.
(For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com)

Source: Pilots’ Association for the Bay and River Delaware letter

New procedures for arriving vessels
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Baltimore, United States

In an effort to standardize on a new set of procedures with the intention of limiting the potential spread of Covid-19 and interruptions to cargo operations, United States Customs and Border Protection, Port of Baltimore request all vessels arriving from foreign ports provide the following information no less than 24 hours and no more than 48 hours prior to commercial vessels arriving.

We recommend working with your respective carriers to verify which crewmembers may need to offsign/D2 well before we get to the 48 hour mark. For nearby countries this could be before the vessel even leaves port.

The following listed information should be provided in one e-mail, addressed to: GMB-Baltimoreseaport, with subject heading to be entered as follows:

Covid-19 precaution// (ships name)//(IMO)//(Agency Name)(Estimated Date of Arrival).
1. Provide the condition of health for all crew
2. Please submit a list of countries each crewmember visited in the last 14 days prior to arrival in Baltimore.
3. If provided, please sign the attached CBP I259 (Detain onboard)
4. If an offsigner/D2 is listed on a I259 notify us immediately of the identity of those crewmembers. Once a crewmember is detained onboard we cannot allow an off signer short of a medical emergency.
5. Attach approved 3171
6. Provide last 14 days of travel
7. Estimated time in port(ETB-ETC/D)
8. Next destination

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com)

Source: U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Port of Baltimore

Healthy crew exempt from air travel ban
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Canada

Transport Canada has confirmed that there are no movement restrictions for healthy crew members on foreign ships. Ship’s crew arriving or departing by air are exempt from the directive banning entry of foreign nationals by air.

Transport Canada has also confirmed there are no restrictions on shore leave for healthy crew members.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Canada, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com

No cruise calls in April
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Invergordon, United Kingdom

There will be no cruise calls to Invergordon in April. The Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and the Port Health Authority are taking proactive measures to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 and are providing instructions for the port to follow.

As the COVID-19 developments remain fluid, cruise calls scheduled for May into Invergordon are under constant review. The port will follow the instructions, advice and guidance from the governing authorities and experts as it becomes available.

Further information on the Port’s COVID-19 health & safety procedures can be found here: https://www.pocf.co.uk/home-page-3/doing-business-at-the-port/safety-security/

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in the United Kingdom, contact GAC UK at uk@gac.com)

Source: Port of Cromarty Firth

Dredging works off Small Craft A (ASCA) anchorage
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Singapore

Dredging is underway until 16 September north of the Small Craft A (ASCA) Anchorage, within the working area bounded by the following co-ordinates (WGS 84 Datum):
1) 01 deg. 18·824’N / 103 deg. 57·802’E
2) 01 deg. 18·852’N / 103 deg. 57·879’E
3) 01 deg. 18·807’N / 103 deg. 57·897’E
4) 01 deg. 18·797’N / 103 deg. 57·874’E
5) 01 deg. 18·658’N / 103 deg. 57·936’E
6) 01 deg. 18·635’N / 103 deg. 57·885’E

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine Notice No.016 of 2020 dated 17 March 2020, the work will be conducted 24 hours daily including Sundays and Public Holidays.

Dredging works will be carried out by crane barge. Dredged material will be used for backfilling and beach nourishment. Re-levelling of the seabed will also be carried out. A safety boat will be deployed in the vicinity of the working area to warn other vessels of the work.

Craft involved in the works will exhibit the appropriate local and international day and night signals.

When in the vicinity of the working area, mariners are reminded to:
a) Keep well clear and not to enter the working area;
b) Maintain a proper lookout;
c) Proceed at a safe speed and navigate with caution;
d) Maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 (East Control);
e) Communicate with East Control for assistance, if required.

For information about operations in Singapore, contact GAC Singapore at singapore@gac.com

Updated restrictions for vessels
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Malaysia

All cruise ships are prohibited from entering any ports in Malaysia.

All China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan flagged vessels, or any vessels that had entered any ports in those countries in the last 14 days from their arrival to Malaysia water, are prohibited to enter any ports in Malaysia.

Foreign seafarers are not allowed to sign-off or going ashore, in any Malaysia ports and water.

All seafarers are not allowed to sign-on, in any Malaysia ports and water.

Only Malaysian seafarers, constantly developed COVID-19 symptoms, from Malaysia flagged vessels are allowed to sign-off and disembark at the designated port. Online sign-off must be done at the nearest Port Office.

Seafarers must carry out thorough pre-screening test by the Port Health Inspector at ship/port area, and subject to any instructions provided by the Port Health Officer.

All foreign seafarers:
a) Who are currently serving on board of Malaysia flagged vessels and not having any explicit COVID-19 symptoms, not a COVID-19 suspect, have not going ashore at China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, or Japan within 14 days, are allowed to continue their normal service on board Malaysia flagged vessel;
b) prohibited to change vessel in any Malaysia ports and water.;
c) Those who already possessed COVID-19 explicit symptoms, a COVID-19 suspect, or have been going ashore at China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, or Japan within 14 days, must undergo proper health screening and isolation on board.

All seafarers of Malaysian nationality:
a) Who are serving on board Malaysia flagged vessels but not having any COVID-19 symptoms, not a COVID-19 suspect, have not going ashore at China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, or Japan within 14, can continue their service on board;
b) Who are having explicit COVID-19 symptoms, or determined as COVID-19 suspects, or have been going ashore at China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, or Japan within 14 days, must undergo further health screening and isolation only at the designated port, and their contract of sea shall be terminated.

Designated port is the International Port of Kuala Linggi, Melaka.

For information about operations in Malaysia, contact GAC Malaysia at shipping.malaysia@gac.com

Transits continuing, crew changes subject to changing regulations
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Kiel Canal, Germany

In spite of pandemic worldwide COVID-19 scenario, Kiel-Canal transits are still possible without any delay and congestion. All involved parties (such as pilots, helmsmen, traffic control, agency, etc.) are still working and in charge.

For crew change it is different. As entry regulations into the European Union/Germany regulations change nearly every day, it is highly recommended to check before planning any crew changes.

(For information about operations in Germany, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com)

Source: Sartori & Berger, Germany – GAC agent

Additional precautions for piloted vessels
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Lowestoft, United Kingdom

ABP has taken precautions to ensure that Pilots are healthy before they board your vessel and it is expected that ships take suitable precautions to ensure the health of ABP Pilots whilst they are on board your vessel.

Mitigation measures on board to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 should include:

Rigorous cleaning of bridge and other equipment that the pilot would normally contact or use (VHF Radio handsets, chart tables, radar etc)
Keeping a reasonable distance (2metres)
Regular hand-washing and avoidance of touching the face
Catching any coughs and sneezes with a tissue which is then disposed of
Bridge team to be limited to critical crew members for the duration of the pilotage
Please contact Lowestoft Port Control, VHF Ch 14, Tel. 01502 572286, if additional information is required.

(For information about operations in the United Kingdom, contact GAC UK at uk@gac.com)

Source: Associated British Ports – Lowestoft Notice to Mariners No.16 2020 dated 17 March 2020

Off Port Limits services reinstated
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Durban, South Africa

OPL services at Durban have been reinstated, but for ships’ spare and provisions only.

No waste or crew change services may be carried out, and surveyors are not allowed to go out to vessel.

For information about operations in South Africa, contact GAC South Africa at shipping.capetown@gac.com

Quarantine procedures
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Paradip, India

All vessels irrespective of flag and last port, whether on coastal or foreign run, to request for free pratique/health clearance with the following documents at least 24 hours prior to her arrival by mail to quarantine.ppt@gmail.com with copy to CMO/DC/PHO in following e-mail IDs:

Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH)
Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate (SSCEC)
Crew list with joining date and place
Last 10 ports of call (Voyage Memo)
Vaccination list
Self declaration on arrival
Daily Health Declaration-Temeprature
Vessels must be declared in the DTR, prior requesting health clearance. No vessel will be allowed to enter port limit without grant of pratique or health clearance. Vessels to send one mail with all above documents. Agents are requested to forward above mail again and only to ensure that the above mail from the vessels is addressed to correct e-mail IDs.

Vessels will quarantined at the anchorage in the following cases:

Vessels directly or indirectly coming from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Philippines and Singapore (if touched for cargo operation) will be quarantined at the anchorage till 14 days of departure from ports in above countries.
Any crew joining the vessel, having travel history to above countries during the last one month, then, the vessel will be quarantined till 14 days since joining of such crew.
Any crew on board any ship develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, respiratory problem, etc) then the vessel will be quarantined and CMO/PHO will decide further course of action.
This circular superseded all prior instructions in this regard.

(For information about operations in India, contact GAC India at india@gac.com)

Source: Paradip Port Trust Marine Department dated 17 March 2020

Entry restricted to Omanis only
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Oman

As part of a range of measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, from today (18 March), Oman is restricting entry to the Sultanate from all land, sea and air outlets to Omanis only, and preventing its nationals from leaving the Sultanate.

There are no restrictions on cargo coming by sea from various countries. All types of ships visiting Omani ports will be restricted from embarking or disembarking personal.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued following guidelines for all Oman Ports:

Cruise ships are only allowed to take provisions, fresh water and bunkers at Omani ports.
Protective gear must be used by agents and all other personnel visiting the vessels.
Agents must provide all required information of ship’s crew to MOH representative.
All companies should prepare business continuation plan as with MOH guidelines
Suspected cases should be reported to immediately to MOH and Director General of Maritime affairs.
Additional measures are implemented from today (18 March). The latest full set of measures is now as follows:

All ships and their agents are obliged to submit the IMO Declaration of Health to the Harbour Master as well as the attached ‘Corona virus questionnaire’.
Both documents should be signed and stamped by the Captain. Both documents need to be uploaded in the Port management system by the ship’s agent for approval of the vessel call by the Harbour Master.
In case of a sick person on board, the vessel will not be allowed to enter the port and the patient involved will be screened by a Port Health team at anchorage.
In case of recently arrived crew on board the ship (within the last 16 days), the Harbour Master will decide, based upon the submitted facts, whether pilot boarding and port entry is allowed.
No disembarkation of ship’s crew is allowed during the ship’s call, including the anchorage.
In case of needed emergency shore leave or crew change, pre-approval is needed from the Harbour Master, Immigration and Port Health. For Harbour Master approval, this request must be send to the Port Control email address as mentioned hereunder. Approval is given by email.
Any concerned staff interacting with the ship’s crew should follow up on the official advice from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization on personal protection.
Port Control should be contacted in case of any suspicious situation regarding the Corona virus in the port area or on board a ship so that appropriate measures can be taken in close cooperation with the Port Health team.
Officials have declared a 14-day quarantine period for all vessels calling at Duqm port.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Oman, contact GAC Oman at muscat@gac.com

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