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Hot Port News from GAC

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Hot Port News from GAC






Runcorn, United Kingdom

Sri Lanka

Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom







United Arab Emirates

Scottish Highlands & Islands, United Kingdom



Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Rosyth, United Kingdom

Corpus Christi


Additional port charges & fees prohibited
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Philippines

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has not granted any increase and additional ports fees, cargo handling, pilotage, terminal and miscellaneous charges, including hazard fee, in its official port tariff after the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Neither has PPA and its Board granted any such authority to impose additional charge or fee to any terminal operators, cargo handling operator, Pilots and Pilotage Association, Private Port Operator and other Port Service Providers.

All Port Managers are hereby directed to monitor compliance with this Notice, immediately stop and report any violation hereof.

(For information about operations in the Philippines, contact GAC Philippines at philippines@gac.com)

Source: Philippine Ports Authority Memorandum dated 25 March 2020

Entry restrictions
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Bahrain

Entry to Bahrain is restricted to Bahraini citizens, residents and few other special categorised personnel.

Those who travelled to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Iraq or the Lebanese Republic in the 14 days preceding their arrival in the Kingdom will immediately be taken to undergo enhanced testing procedures as a preventative measure for coronavirus (COVID-19) and will be subject to quarantine.

Those arriving from any other country will be taken to undergo enhanced testing procedures as a preventative measure for coronavirus (COVID-19) and self-isolation for a period of 14 days.

The visa on arrival facility has been suspended until further notice, except for diplomats.

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

State of Emergency extended
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Bahamas

The state of public emergency declared in the Bahamas on 17 March due to COVID-19 has been extended until 30 April. It had previously been set to last for 14 days.

(For information about operations in the Bahamas, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com)

Source: Elnet Maritime Agency, Bahamas – GAC agent

Precautions for pilots
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Turkey

Turkey’s General Directorate of Maritime Affairs has shared precautions will be taken by pilots due to COVID-19.

These precautions below will be applied thoroughly and meticulously in order to keep the pilots away from the risk of epidemics and create a safe working environment. Any difficulties that may occur in the implementation of these measures will be reported to the relevant port authority by the pilot associations and the necessary measures will be taken

Agencies that provide pilotage service will increase the number of shifts and create a safer schedule with the minimum number of pilots in terms of contamination risk (it is important to have fewer pilots in the same shift in case of contamination).

Necessary precautions will be taken to prevent pilots from meeting pilots from other shifts and not to be in the same environment. In cases where it is necessary to be in the same environment and especially in shift changes, necessary measures will be taken to minimise the risk of contamination.

Disinfection of stations, common areas, vehicles and launch boats will be provided continuously.

Disposable rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, medical masks and disposable overalls etc. will be provided as PPE by the piloting agencies to pilots and the equipment will be disposed of properly upon disembarkation.

Health and cleaning rules published and updated by the Ministry of Health will be complied with.

Pilot association will provide educational guides which are prepared by the Ministry of Health and ensure they are informed accordingly.

The bridge will be disinfected by the vessel crew before pilot is onboard. This will be directed through the agency.

The fans on the bridge will be turned off before the pilot boards the vessel.

Living area stairs will not be used in the ascent and descent to the bridge.

Pilotage service will be provided through the bridge wind as much as possible.

Maneuvering on the bridge will be ensured with the minimum amount of personnel required without weakening the safety of navigation. Shift changes will not be allowed during maneuver. All personnel on the bridge will be taken to take protective measures, including wearing a mask, and will communicate with people from a distance of 2 metres.

If the pilots notice any signs of illness (cough, malaise, etc.) in the ship’s crew, they will inform the port authority immediately. The situation is conveyed to the general directorate of beaches and health by the port authority and the ship’s crew and the relevant pilot will be re-examined.

Shift lists which were revised according to these precautions by the pilot association and information of pilots which are actively involved will be sent to ltp.didgm@uab.gov.tr in excel format with their Turkish Republic ID numbers.

Bridge checklists and the documents showing that the service is provided between the ship’s captain and the pilot and will be made online and in digital format to the extent possible, and necessary measures will be taken jointly by the pilot associations and agencies serving the ship to prevent the risk of contamination from paper, pen or other office materials used.

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

Measures to reduce impact of COVID-19
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Runcorn, United Kingdom

Runcorn Docks have put preventative measures in place to reduce any potential impact [COVID-19] may have on the health and welfare of all its personnel, contractors and to its operations.

The measures include:

No hauliers or subcontractors are allowed within the weighbridge offices and must remain in their cabs to uphold a safe working distance in these areas.

Weighbridge staff are required to wear gloves when operating.

Hauliers and subcontractors are to remain in their cabs where possible, or close by their vehicles or trailers.

A safe distance ruling of 2-metres are being enforced on site following the Department of Health guidelines.

Toolbox talks are being conducted towards staff on control measures for the COVID-19 virus spread including hand wash steps, general hygiene practices in the workplace and plant and equipment hygiene measures.

Daily communications are being cascaded from the Executive Board and Senior Management are being provided to staff on the events surrounding COVID-19.
In order to assist in our ability to maintain core operations we will be taking some steps to ensure absences within the team can be covered. After Saturday 28 March, we will not be providing non-contractual overtime on Saturday and Sunday. This will assist in our ability to give rest days to workers and give us a greater chance at retaining normality of service to core operations.

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

Source: Extract from letter from Runcorn Terminal Manager, Peel Ports Group Ltd

Revision of island-wide curfew extension
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Sri Lanka

The lifting of the currently enforced curfew and re-enforcement will be carried out as follows:

Three districts – the capital Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts – have been declared high risk areas and the curfew imposed will continue until further notice.

The curfew currently in force in the Northern areas (Puttalam, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna districts) will be lifted at 0600 hours tomorrow (Friday 27 March) and re-imposed at 1200 hours on the same day.

The curfew in the rest of the country (areas including Ports of Galle, Hambantota and Trincomalee) were in force until 0600 today (26 March), and re-imposed at 1200 hours.
During the hours of curfew, movement from one district to another has been completely banned, including taking foreign tourists from place one place to another. Airport and port service personnel are allowed to travel.

The period from 30 March to 3 April has been declared as a “work from home” period, for all government, semi-government and private sector employees in Sri Lanka, excluding essential services.

All international airports in Sri Lanka will continue to be closed to inbound international commercial passenger flights until 2359 hours local time on 31 March 2020.

During the closure period the following will be permitted:

Aircraft Departures with passengers originating from Colombo, stopovers, transit passengers or visiting tourists.
Emergency Diversions to BIA
Freighter Operations and humanitarian flights to BIA
Technical landings at BIA
Inbound ferry flights (without passengers) at BIA
For information about operations in Sri Lanka, contact GAC Sri Lanka at srilanka@gac.com

Pilot embarkation precautionary measures
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom

A set of Pilot Embarkation Precautionary Measures have been developed for the embarkation of pilots and the subsequent vessel transit… …put into effect from 1800 on 25 March 2020 by all vessels that do not have on board any suspected cases of COVID-19.

Responsibility for carrying out the Pilot Embarkation Precautionary Measures rests with the vessel’s master assisted by the shipowner and local ship agent as appropriate.


Prior to pilot embarkation, the pilot assigned to the vessel will establish contact with the vessel by the most appropriate means (most likely via VHF when onboard the pilot launch) and request confirmation that there are no suspected COVID-19 cases on board. This confirmation is in addition to the Maritime Declaration of Health submission that is be required by the Port Health Authority. The pilot will embark the vessel wearing suitable PPE (face mask and nitrile gloves as a minimum)
Immediately prior to pilot embarkation, all surfaces and equipment in the wheelhouse, including on the bridge wings, that the pilot may touch must be cleaned with a suitable cleaning solution.
All crew at the embarkation point must wear suitable PPE (masks and gloves as a minimum).
The crew member assigned to escort the pilot from the embarkation point to the wheelhouse must wear suitable PPE.
Where possible, the route from the embarkation point to the wheelhouse should be via the open deck, as opposed to within enclosed spaces, and be clear of ventilation unit exhausts. As far as it would not prejudice the normal operation of the vessel, non-essential crew and passengers should be kept clear of this route prior to and during pilot embarkation.
The bridge, where possible, should remain well ventilated via the opening of external doors or windows. If this is not practicable, owing to the design of the vessel, its systems or the prevailing conditions, all ventilation units on board the vessel should be adjusted to supply outside air only and air recirculation must not take place.
The bridge must be cleared of all crew not essential to the navigation of the vessel, and all crew members present must wear suitable PPE.
The pilot will not sign onboard documentation; the pilot’s signature being replaced by a crew member recording the pilot’s name on the documentation in lieu of the signature. The pilot will apply a corresponding procedure for the master’s signature on the pilot’s passage plan.
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 disembarkation of the pilot either ashore or to the pilot launch.
If a vessel is unable to comply with any of the Pilot Embarkation Precautionary Measures, the master must advise Yarmouth Pilots on VHF Ch.12 without delay and in advance of the pilot embarkation.

Failure of vessels to comply with the Pilot Embarkation Precautionary Measures may result in pilot embarkation being delayed or cancelled.

If there is a report of a suspected case of COVID-19 onboard a vessel, the pilot embarkation will be cancelled pending the receipt of specific guidance from the Port Health Authority.

Furthermore, masters of vessels are advised that if the pilot assigned to the vessel reports any symptoms of COVID-19 prior to embarkation, reasonable endeavours will be made to assign a replacement pilot in time for the vessel’s planned transit. However, depending upon the prevailing demand for pilots, this may not be not be possible, in which case, the booking will be cancelled, and the local agent required to resubmit the booking for a later time.

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

Source: Great Yarmouth Port Company Limited Harbour Master Notice to Mariners No.06 2020 dated 25 March 2020

Working area for smart navigation system tests and manoeuvres
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Singapore

From 26 March to 7 April, smart navigation system tests and manoeuvres are being carried out off Raffles Reserved Anchorage (ARAFR).

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine Notice No.19 of 2020 dated 25 March 2020, the work is being conducted between 1000 and 1800 hours daily, excluding weekends, within the working area bounded by the following co-ordinates (WGS 84 Datum):
1) 01 deg. 11.364’N / 103 deg. 46.801’E
2) 01 deg. 10.735’N / 103 deg. 47.222’E
3) 01 deg. 09.704’N / 103 deg. 45.433’E
4) 01 deg. 10.352’N / 103 deg. 45.015’E

The craft will be conducting smart navigation system tests and manoeuvres during the stated period in the working area.

The activities will be suspended during the movements of Very Large Crude Carriers to SHELL Single Buoy Mooring.

A safety boat will be deployed to warn other craft in the vicinity of the working area.

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

When in the vicinity of the working area, mariners are reminded to:
a) Keep well clear and comply with COLREGs;
b) Maintain a proper lookout;
c) Proceed at a safe speed and navigate with caution;
d) Maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 68 (West Control);
e) Communicate with West Control on VHF Channel 68 for assistance, if required.

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

Suspension of Marine Advisory Service (MAS) operations
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Singapore

Due to the escalating of Covid-19 in Singapore, the government has implemented more stringent border control with immediate effect. We have been instructed by higher authority to suspend all MAS operations with immediate effect until further notice.

We will be contacting all affected vessels to provide them instructions to contact “Singapore Pilot” if they are calling Singapore.

For transit vessels we will render whatever assistance required for their safe passage in SOMS.

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

Source: PSA Marine, Singapore

Movement Control Order extended
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Malaysia

The Government of Malaysia has decided to Extend the Movement Control Order until 14 April throughout the country.

This order includes:

The general prohibition of mass movements and gatherings across the country including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. All houses of worship and business premises are closed, except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery stores and convenience stores selling everyday necessities.

The sanctions cover all Malaysians traveling abroad. For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to do a quarantine (or self quarantine) for 14 days.

Restrictions on the entry of all tourists and foreign visitors into the country.

Closure of all kindergartens, government and private schools.

Closure of all public and private higher education institutions and skills training institutes.

Closure of all government and private premises except those involved in essential services (water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defense, cleaning, retail and food supply).
For further details and information about operations in Malaysia, contact GAC Malaysia at shipping.malaysia@gac.com

Port restrictions & curfew in force
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Mauritania

All vessels calling at Mauritanian ports will be screened by Port Health prior to berthing, and crew changes are not permitted until further notice.

A curfew is in force between the hours of 1800 and 0600 local time.

Medevac and charter flights may be considered on a case-by-case basis after submission of formal request.

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

New COVID-19 measures
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Oman

New decisions made in Oman to combat the spread of coronavirus include the following:

All domestic and international flights to and from the Sultanate’s airports will be suspended from 29 March. Flights to Musandam Governorate are exempt.

The relevant authorities will bring back citizens, and scholarship students in particular, and provide them with institutional isolation.
For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Oman, contact GAC Oman at muscat@gac.com

Waiver of travel restriction for shipping related personnel
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Bangladesh

To slow the spread of [COVID-19] and mitigate its impacts, travel advisories have been issued by many jurisdictions including Bangladesh. However, shipping services are required to continue to be operational so that vital goods and essential commodities like fuel, medical supplies, food grains etc., are delivered in a way that the economic activity of the nation is not disrupted.

It is, therefore, important that the flow of goods by sea should not be needlessly disrupted while also the safety of life and protection of the environment taken care off. In view of the same, waiver to travel restriction for shipping related personnel is essential.

Shipping related personnel shall maintain WHO Guidelines regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and all other instructions/ guidelines/ advisories/ precautions issued on Coronavirus (COVID-19) by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare/Directorate General of Health Services, Bangladesh. Shipping related personnel while going out for essential duty purpose shall carry valid identity card/pass.

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

Source: Bangladesh Department of Shipping Circular Number: 03/2020 dated 25 March 2020

National Disinfection Programme
Thursday, March 26, 2020, United Arab Emirates

A National Disinfection Programme involving the complete sterilisation of all public utilities, public transport and metro services in the United Arab Emirates will be conducted from 8pm this evening (26 March) until 6am on Sunday 29 March.

During this period, the movement of the traffic and the public will be restricted, while public transportation and metro services will be halted.

The public are urged to stay at home during the disinfection time and not to go out unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Pharmacies, and food retail outlets in the UAE, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, and supermarkets, will be allowed to operate 24 hours, as per a circular issued earlier by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

For information about operations in the UAE, contact GAC at abudhabi@gac.com, dubai@gac.com, fujairah@gac.com, rasalkhaimah@gac.com or sharjah@gac.com

Airports to close to scheduled flights
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Scottish Highlands & Islands, United Kingdom

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) has confirmed that its 11 airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands will close to scheduled flights due to the coronavirus outbreak. They will, however, operate a “skeleton service” to ensure lifeline and essential flights (for the NHS, Royal Mail and the oil & gas industry) continue.

Contingency arrangements will be implemented to ensure the airports continue to operate as required for lifeline and essential needs.

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

Shore leave and crew changes stopped
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Greece

Following the announcement of a lockdown on citizen movements in Greece this week, crew shore leave is not permitted and crew changes cannot take place for EU/Schengen/third countries.

Flights to/from Greece are not available. For air freight, priority is given to the movement of medical supplies.

Hotels are closed and there are traffic restrictions in force, including a maximum of two people (driver and one passenger) per car.

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

Procedures for vessels arriving from overseas
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Brazil

Medical Logbooks must be presented by vessels calling at ports in Brazil along with their Free Pratique Certificate request.

Cargo ships arriving from overseas will be granted the Free Pratique Certificate after previous analyses, allowing the ship to berth and operate, but no disembarkation of any crewmember is allowed within 14 days of the vessel’s departure from her last foreign port of call.

Contact between crew and stevedores must be kept to a minimum while the ship is within port limits.

In cases of suspected COVID-19 infection during a vessel’sport the port stay, no crew members are authorized to disembark within the 14 days starting from the date of detection of the suspected infection.

For critical cases where health care is required, crew will be allowed to disembark.

Where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, the ship may not leave the port. For cases where operations are already underway, authorities will evaluate authorising the maintenance of ship’s operation thereafter.

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

Temporary suspension of boarding of surveyors
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has instructed a temporary withhold of ship surveyors from boarding any vessel coming to any port in Sri Lanka until further notice. This measure has been taken because ship surveyors may be at high risk due to their long exposure to the crew and ship environment during their routine work.

P & I surveyors, cargo surveyors and bunker surveyors are exempted. However, it is recommended to adhere to the precautions (following port health guidelines and wearing suitable PPE) and to keep all records of such activities at individual level.

Further, bunker surveyors are expected remain in the bunker barges and strictly not permitted to board the receiving vessel as per instructed by port officials.

For information about operations in Sri Lanka, contact GAC Sri Lanka at srilanka@gac.com

Ports Authority waives storage charges
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has decided to waive storage charges as a relief measure amidst the coronavirus crisis.

Storage charges are the rent collected by the SLPA for keeping containers and cargo inside the port.

For information about operations in Sri Lanka, contact GAC Sri Lanka at srilanka@gac.com

Dockyard closed
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Rosyth, United Kingdom

The Babcock dockyard in Rosyth has been completely closed in line with government advice.

This is not to be confused with Forth ports Rosyth, which is continuing to run normally.

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

Tariff rollback due to COVID-19
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Corpus Christi

The Port of Corpus Christi Commission at its 24 March Commission meeting unanimously approved a three-month rollback of the current Port of Corpus Christi (PCCA) tariff rates to those in effect on 31 December, 2019. The tariff rollback is effective 1 April, 2020.

These rollbacks will reduce wharfage, dockage and harbor safety fee charges under the PCCA Tariff 100-A and wharfage, dockage and Item 342 (Charges for Use of Traveling Gantry Crane), Item 344 (Charges for Use of Radial Ship Loader) and Item 346 (Unloading of Rail Cars at Bulk Dock 2) under Bulk Terminal Tariff 1-A. The reduced tariff rates will remain in effect through 30 June, 2020.

It is the sincere hope of the PCCA Commission and Staff that that this action will bring some relief from the financial woes of the business interruptions experienced by Port users during these extraordinary times. As we navigate these uncharted waters, we remain optimistic of a strong recovery once these hurdles are overcome. The health and safety of our customers, stakeholders and the communities we serve are our top priority.

(For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com)

Source: Port of Corpus Christi Authority update

Crew changes halted
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Gibraltar

Due to the ongoing situation of COVID-19 in Gibraltar and the rest of the world, Gibraltar Port Authority, in consultation with other relevant authorities, have concluded that all crew changes will not be permitted until further notice in light of uncertainty with regards to flights in and out of Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar Port Authority and HM Government of Gibraltar will be reviewing the situation on a daily basis and will update agents as and when required.

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

Source: Gibraltar Port Authority Port Circular 7 of 2020 dated 26 March 2020

Measures to guarantee sustained operations amid COVID-19
Thursday, March 26, 2020, Panama

Following the mandatory countrywide lockdown announced by the Panamanian Government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Panama Canal adopted new measures to guarantee the continuity of its operation and prevent the further spread of the virus, safeguarding its workforce and the safety of its customers.

These measures include:

The creation of teams with the necessary staffing levels in order to maintain the safe operation of the waterway and provide continuous service to international trade.
These teams will be transferred to and from their work areas in special transport and in small groups, with the aim of reducing the risk of infection.
Operational shifts will be established to ensure that all workers are adequately rested.
The health and wellbeing of the Panama Canal team is our top priority. The measures implemented are in addition to those that have already been implemented to protect employees, customers and crew of ships in transit since the announcement of the global alert for COVID-19, in accordance with Panama Canal regulations and recommendations from the Ministry of Health of Panama (MINSA) and the World Health Organization. The waterway has also been coordinating with MINSA to navigate the situation and raise awareness among the greater public.

(For information about operations in Panama contact GAC Panama at operations.panama@gac.com)

Source: Panama Canal Authority press release dated 25 March 2020

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