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Hot Port News from GAC

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Hot Port News from GAC


Hong Kong



Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates


Sullom Voe & Scalloway, United Kingdom


Mesaieed, Qatar

Sri Lanka

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Antwerp, Belgium

Canakkale Straits, Turkey


Marine site investigation in Starling Inlet
Monday, March 23, 2020, Hong Kong

For a period of approximately 1 month, marine site investigation works involving drilling of boreholes [are being] carried out within the area bounded by straight lines joining the following coordinates (WGS 84 Datum) from (A) to (D):
(A) 22 deg. 32.759’N / 114 deg. 14.262’E
(B) 22 deg. 32.661’N / 114 deg. 14.312’E
(C) 22 deg. 32.615’N / 114 deg. 14.206’E
(D) 22 deg. 32.713’N / 114 deg. 14.157’E

The works [are being] carried out by one dumb lighter. One tugboat provides assistance.

A working area of approximately 80 metres around the lighter [is] established. Yellow marker buoys fitted with yellow flashing lights [are] laid to mark the positions extending from the lighter.

The hours of work are from 0700 to 1900 hours. No works [are being] carried out on Sundays and public holidays. Vessels employed for the works stay in the works area outside the hours of work.

Vessels engaged in the operations display signals as prescribed in international and local regulations.

Vessels navigating in the vicinity should proceed with caution.

(For information about operations in Hong Kong, contact GAC Hong Kong at shipping.hongkong@gac.com)

Source: Government of the Hong Kong SAR Marine Department Notice No.44/2020

Passenger ban
Monday, March 23, 2020, Taiwan

To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 through air transport and to reduce the cross-border movement of population and the risk of disease transmission, from 00:00 hours local time on 24 March to 7 April, passengers will be completely banned from boarding and transferring to Taiwan.

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

COVID-19: State of emergency until 15 April
Monday, March 23, 2020, Kazakhstan

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kazakhstan announced one-month state of emergency until 15 April. A wide range of measures have come into force including quarantine, large-scale sanitary and anti-epidemic measures, the prohibition of public and family events, and restrictions on entry into the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Servicing of ships from Azerbaijan and Iran at the sea ports of Aktau and Kuryk has been suspended as a temporary measure. Crews of foreign cargo vessels are not permitted to leave their ships and the transportation of people and vehicles with drivers have also been halted.

According to reports, in view of the complicated situation with the spread of COVID-19 in Nur-Sultan and Almaty, and to prevent the spread of coronavirus to other cities of Kazakhstan, from midnight on March 19, the quarantine regime began to operate in the Kazakh capitals of Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Entrance and exit is closed, and police and military personnel are patrolling streets.

From March 22, Almaty is closed to everyone and air and rail services are suspended. Citizens who do not live permanently in the city were asked to return home, and residents of the suburbs who work in the city cannot enter. Those who work in Almaty need special permission, issued by the city authorities at the request of the employer.

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

Port operations continuing
Monday, March 23, 2020, Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian Ports Authority, Mawani, and Customs have announced the continuity of business activities in all Saudi ports receiving container and all types of cargo vessels around the clock. Imports and exports continue to flow seamlessly in full compliance with the health and safety measures and protection guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Health to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Both authorities are taking all the necessary precautions to regularly sanitize their facilities, as well as providing their staff with protective gear.

Traders, cargo owners and agents are invited to continue their business as usual, emphasizing the importance of preventative guidelines issued by the Saudi National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and Ministry of Health.

Entry of customs brokers to customs arenas or administrative facilities is restricted to the utmost necessity. All transactions are being carried out through the Fasah platform and its technical support.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Saudi Arabia, contact GAC Saudi Arabia at dammam@gac.com

Passenger flights suspended
Monday, March 23, 2020, United Arab Emirates

In accordance with the UAE Government’s directive, the national airline Emirates is temporarily suspending all passenger services for two weeks starting from Wednesday, 25 March, as part of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

For information about operations in the United Arab Emirates contact GAC Dubai at dubai@gac.com

Extension of precautionary measures (update 23 March)
Monday, March 23, 2020, Singapore

Due to the escalating rate of imported cases of COVID-19 into Singapore during the last few days, effective from 2359 hours local time tonight (23 March), all short-term visitors will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

With the application of the additional precautionary measures, crew and passengers on short-term visits will not be allowed to disembark in Singapore for the time being. Crew change in Singapore is also disallowed.

In the meantime, please note:

a) Vessels are still permitted to enter Singapore port limits to carry out their intended operations such as cargo operations i.e. terminal loading, discharging, bunkering and storing of provisions/stores.

b) Vetting inspectors and shore technicians from Singapore are also permitted to attend vessels at Singapore anchorage for inspection, servicing or repair of equipment on board but this is subjected to their own discretion in view of the current global health situation.

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

Pilot embarkation procedures
Monday, March 23, 2020, Sullom Voe & Scalloway, United Kingdom

The UK Department for Transport, in consultation with Public Health England, has issued updates on the spread of the [COVID-19] virus and guidelines for the necessary steps.

In support of those guidelines, Shetland Islands Council have instigated the following Pilot Embarkation Procedure for the embarkation of pilots and subsequent vessel transit for Sullom Voe and Scalloway.

This Pilot Embarkation Procedures applies to all vessels…

All vessels must have submitted the required Maritime Declaration of Health to Sullom Voe VTS – portcontrol@shetland.gov.uk
Where possible, one hour before the pilot embarkation time, non-essential crew should remain clear of the designated route from the pilot embarkation point (either pilot ladder, accommodation ladder, etc) to the wheelhouse, especially where the route is within enclosed spaces.
Immediately prior to pilot embarkation, all surfaces and equipment in the wheelhouse, or on the bridge wings, that the pilot may touch must be cleaned with a suitable disinfectant solution.
The wheelhouse, where possible, should remain well ventilated via the opening of external doors or windows.
Where possible, the route from the embarkation point to the wheelhouse should via the open deck, as opposed to within enclosed spaces.
The wheelhouse should be cleared of all crew not essential to the navigation of the vessel.
In the wheelhouse, Pilots may wear face masks and gloves at their own discretion.
In the wheelhouse, crews may wear faces masks and gloves at their Master’s discretion.
Unless necessary for the safety of the pilot (i.e. during the embarkation process), crew or vessel, the pilot and crew should remain at least 2m apart.
Similar precautions must be taken during the disembarkation of the pilot ashore or to the pilot launch.
(For information about operations in the United Kingdom, contact GAC UK at uk@gac.com)

Source: Shetland Islands Council – Marine & Air Operations Pilot Embarkation Procedures dated 20 March 2020

Connections with Turkey & UK suspended
Monday, March 23, 2020, Greece

The Greek Health Ministry has announced the suspension of all connections to Turkey and the United Kingdom as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The suspension applies from 6am today (23 March) to 3pm on 15 April.

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

Restrictions for calling vessels
Monday, March 23, 2020, Mesaieed, Qatar

Vessels are permitted to call to Mesaieed port, except for those calling directly from Iranian ports, which are subject to 14 days’ waiting period before being allowed entry.

All vessels must submit Corona Virus declaration, Maritime Declaration of Health, Master’s Declaration, Last 10 Port of call and crew list & temperature reading of all onboard 72 hours before arrival/berthing and resubmit 48, 24, 12, 6 and 3 hours prior to arrival.

If any crew are suspected of COVID 19 infection, the port shall contact the medical authorities for assistance and testing. After clearance, vessels are being permitted to berth.

Entry into the country has been suspended for all nationalities except for Qataris. No shore leave is permitted, including berth and jetty, unless in case of emergency and subject to approval from Port Management. No crew changes are authorised until further notice.

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

Curfew revised
Monday, March 23, 2020, Sri Lanka

The curfew previously enforced in the areas surrounding Colombo Port (Colombo, Gampaha and Puttalam Districts) and Northern province will be lifted at 0600 hours tomorrow (Tuesday 24 March). It will then be re-imposed at 1200 hours the same day and remain in effect until 0600 hours on Friday (27 March) 0600 Hrs. Thereafter, it will be imposed again from 1200 hours on 27, until further notice.

The curfew in the rest of the country (areas including Ports of Galle, Hambantota and Trincomalee) re-commences at 1400 hours today (23 March), and will be in force until 0600 hours on 26 March. Thereafter, it will be re-imposed at 1200 hours the same day.

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

Port still operational, measures taken for coronavirus
Monday, March 23, 2020, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Despite the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the port of Rotterdam remains operational. Cargo handling and production continues unabated. The Harbour Master Division is monitoring safety and public order on the water 24/7.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has taken steps to safeguard the continuity of business operations, and is advising and assisting clients to keep them informed of developments. As the situation relating to the spread of coronavirus is changing very rapidly, new measures including those requiring additional measures are likely in the days and weeks to come.

The following measures have been taken:

Employees of the Port of Rotterdam Authority are working from home as much as possible and can be reached by email. Operational services continue and the Harbour Coordination Centre remains accessible 24/7.

All events, receptions and non-essential training courses have been postponed or cancelled.

All seagoing vessels are required to submit a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDoH) before arriving at, or being piloted in, the port of Rotterdam. That procedure is already in place for cruise vessels. It does not apply to inland shipping.
For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in the Netherlands, contact GAC Netherlands at agency.netherlands@gac.com

Port 100% operational
Monday, March 23, 2020, Antwerp, Belgium

The Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce [has] confirmed that the port remains 100% operational thanks to the daily efforts and commitment of all employees.

Handling on the terminals is going ahead normally, there is sufficient manpower available to deal with cargo, and drivers are arriving and departing without too much delay.

However, several points for attention are being monitored, including:

The different approaches of Belgium and the Netherlands. Port of Antwerp is served by Flemish and Dutch pilots. The Dutch position starts from a controlled contamination, while the Flemish standard is much stricter.

Manpower: at the moment everything is under control. The availability and allocation of employees is essential for correct functioning of all port services. In addition, fall-back scenarios are being drawn up to assure continuity of service.
The Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce will meet weekly. This frequency will be increased should it become necessary. For more information, visit the port’s Coronavirus web page at https://www.portofantwerp.com/en/coronavirus

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in the Belgium, contact GAC Belgium at agency.antwerp@gac.com

Impact of COVID-19 on transit waiting times
Monday, March 23, 2020, Canakkale Straits, Turkey

The latest Turkish Government decision bans people of 65 years-old from public areas. As a result, some of the older pilots (over 60) in the Turkish Straits are out of service.

On 20, 21 and 23 March, two-way traffic was observed in the Canakkale Strait, contrary to the VTS application of the last 6 months. The latest application was mainly one-way (convoy) traffic that was succeeded by adding an average of two daylight-restricted vessels per day.

The waiting period for Canakkale northbound was less than one day during the first week of March. It rose to just under two days in mid-March and today (23 March) reached three days.

GAC Turkey anticipates that the Canakkale waiting period may increase to up to a week period due to COVID-19 and its consequences.

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

Construction of jetty in West Jurong Channel
Monday, March 23, 2020, Singapore

From today (23 March) to 31 May, a jetty is being constructed in the West Jurong Channel.

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine Notice No.017 of 2020, the work is being carried out 24 hours daily – including Sundays & Public Holidays – within the working area bounded by the following coordinates (WGS 84 Datum):
1) 01 deg. 17·354’N / 103 deg. 40·825’E
2) 01 deg. 17·404’N / 103 deg. 40·888’E
3) 01 deg. 17·444’N / 103 deg. 41·013’E
4) 01 deg. 17·380’N / 103 deg. 41·051’E
5) 01 deg. 17·272’N / 103 deg. 40·873’E

The construction of jetty involves piling work and lifting of construction materials. A safety boat will be deployed in the vicinity to warn other craft about the works.

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 of the working area;
b) Maintain a proper lookout;
c) Proceed at a safe speed and to navigate with caution;
d) Maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 22 (Jurong Control);
e) Communicate with Jurong Control for assistance, if required.

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

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