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Hot Port News from GAC

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Hot Port News from GAC



Panama Canal, Panama

Aberdeen, United Kingdom



South Africa

Maritime related entries
Thursday, April 16, 2020, Gibraltar

With regard to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and, with immediate effect, the local authorities will allow for all maritime related personnel to attend vessels at Gibraltar subject to compliance with the following information being supplied to the below mentioned parties at least 24 hours in advance:

Name of the vessel attending
Name of the individual and purpose of visit
Expected time of duration on-board the vessel
Place of residency
Will the individual be returning home or sailing with the vessel?
Has the individual attending been at sea or in any other jurisdiction in the past 14 days?
The above information is to be sent for HM Government of Gibraltar’s Office for Civil Contingencies, Borders and Coastguard Agency (BCA) and Gibraltar Port Authority:

Any changes to a vessel’s programme (day of arrival) needs to be communicated to the above addresses.

The above process will also cover maritime related personnel crossing the Gibraltar/Spanish border.

For those wishing to travel to Gibraltar, via the Gibraltar International Airport, the BCA will issue the shipping agent with an Immigration Pre-Clearance letter. The agent is then to forward the letter to the shipping company, ensuring that the individual travelling to Gibraltar has the document in their possession before making their way to Gibraltar.

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Gibraltar, contact GAC Gibraltar at agency.gibraltar@gac.com)

Source: Gibraltar Port Authority Port Circular No.10 of 2020 dated 15 April 2020

Suspension of 2nd update to maximum allowable draft at Neopanamax Locks
Thursday, April 16, 2020, Panama Canal, Panama

Recent rainfall in the Canal watershed has allowed the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to suspend the draft reduction announced in Advisory to Shipping A-09-2020, which was scheduled to become effective April 17, 2020.

As a result, and based on the present and projected level of Gatun Lake for the following weeks, the ACP announces that the maximum authorized draft for the Neopanamax locks will remain at 13.87m (45.5 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW) until April 30, 2020.

Thereafter, effective May, 1, 2020, the maximum authorized draft for the Neopanamax locks will be 13.72m (45.0 feet) TFW, until further notice.

The ACP will continue to monitor the level of Gatun Lake and will announce future draft adjustments in a timely manner.

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

Source: Panama Canal Authority Advisory To Shipping No. A-15-2020 dated 15 April 2020

Welfare Call policy
Thursday, April 16, 2020, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Aberdeen Harbour Board has introduced a temporary Welfare Call policy to allow vessels to visit the port for a pre-agreed short period of time to collect much needed supplies etc. whilst safeguarding crew safety and reducing any risks associated with transfer of supplies and materials at sea.

The protocol will continue to operate until the COVID-19 lockdown measures are lifted, unless otherwise agreed.

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

Revision of tariffs for major ports
Thursday, April 16, 2020, India

According to India’s Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP), the annual Indexation Factor of 1.13% is applied to revised tariffs for the country’s major ports for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

For further details of the new tariffs as well as information about operations in India, contact GAC India at india@gac.com

Curfew & weekend lockdown
Thursday, April 16, 2020, Bahamas

A curfew is in place in the Bahamas from 2100 hours to 0500 hours every weekday until 30 April.

Further, the island will be lockdown every weekend until the end of the month.

(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

Health Risk Alert: COVID-19
Thursday, April 16, 2020, South Africa

The President [of South Africa] declared a State of Natural Disaster and implemented a 21 day lockdown from 27 March 2020, which was extended by a further 2 weeks on 9 April…

…Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA) has implemented measures as per the regulations published by in line with the Disaster Management act of 2002 and amendments…

…It is important that all vessel Masters make accurate declarations of the health and well being of all onboard to the Authorities. Any false declaration will be viewed in a serious light and reported to the South African Maritime Authority and Port Health Officials for further action resulting in delays to the vessel and related costs.

Passenger vessels are prohibited from disembarking passengers and crew except disembarkation of a South African crew and a permanent resident. No passenger embarkation & disembarkation and vessel crew changes will be permitted for all ports including vessels at anchorage or Off Port Limits – only exceptional circumstances will be considered on application as per the relevant regulations and SAMSA Notices.

South African seafarers returning to South Africa via any of the sea ports will be allowed to disembark; subject to a 21 day quarantine.

All vessels will be permitted to replenish fuel, stores and provisions.

Any vessel from a high risk area is required to be isolated for a minimum of 14 days if the transit time was less than 14 days from the last port to the first South African Port.

All Ports are open for cargo operations – essential cargo will be given priority over other approved cargo vessels. Transnet National Ports Authority will endeavour to provide services at a lower than normal level to reduce the risks of exposure to its employees and port users. Permits will be required for exemption from Essential Services during the lock down period.

For vessels approved to work cargo the following conditions will apply:

The bridge will be sanitised before the pilot embarks and after the pilot disembarks the vessel. All bridge equipment to be used by the pilot will be sanitised. Social distance must be maintained at all times.
Pens and all stationary to used by the pilot must be sanitised. Preferred electronic copies.
All crew and visitors to the vessel must make use of PPE and maintain a distance of at least 1.5m where possible – no crossing in alleyways or narrow passages. Gangways must only accommodate a single file of people at least 1.5m apart. Only one way traffic on gangway. The rails of the gangway are to be sanitised every 4 hours. Tally offices, reception areas, common use areas and toilets facilities to be regularly sanitised and exceptional hygiene standards to be practiced.
No person must be allowed to board unless on official business. An accurate record/log of all persons entering and tested must be kept and ready for inspection by any Authority. Temperature screening of persons boarding the vessel must be conducted and anyone above a a temperature of 38 degrees must not be allowed on board.
Dedicated sanitising stations must be provided on every vessel. –All Terminal Operators to comply with all Governments requirement to limit the spread of the Coronavirus – Refer to minimum requirements SOP.
The disposable PPE from every vessel must be disposed of as hazardous waste. A separate medical waste bin must be provided on every vessel for this purpose.
The transfer of stores and spares for Off Port Limits vessels are only permitted under strict conditions and must be approved by the Harbour Master. A risk assessment must be conducted and adequate mitigation measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus. As a minimum adequate–PPE must be used and minimal interaction with the crew. Stores and spares will only be permitted to be transferred from shore to the vessel with stringent measures and permission from SAMSA, Port Health and all other government Authorities.
Permission from Port Health and the Harbour Master’s office is required prior to any interaction with vessels (i.e. vessels with any person having any illness). This also applies to bunker barges/ships and small vessels.
As per the Disaster Management Act amended on 7 April 2020- Section 6) (a) Evacuation of seafarers and passengers on board all ships along the South African coastline will be allowed in terms of Search and Rescue as well as the Merchant Shipping Act, 1957 (Act No. 57 of 1957) and subject to the following:
(i) The evacuation must comply with the provisions of Medical Evacuations as contained in the South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Act, 2002 (Act No. 44 of 2002);
(ii) The evacuation to be carried out in terms of the approved Standard Operating

Procedures for evacuation as contained in the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Manual obtainable from the South African Maritime Safety Authority website; and
(iii) All evacuated patients will be subjected to mandatory quarantine for a period of up to 21 days. Stevedoring personnel are to strictly adhere to the PPE requirements, and disposal thereof as provided by its employer – the vessel. No sick employee with a compromised immune system should be permitted to work.

All Stevedores must be registered as workers have contact details to be able to be traced for purposes of sharing information and possible infection risks.

Shore leave for crew is not permitted and limited to only essential matters and no visitors without any official business are to be allowed on vessels.

Limited interaction between bunker barge operator and vessels is permitted. Crew to ensure gloves are provided and used when handling mooring lines and all preventative precautions are upheld – no crew changes are permitted for bunker barges or foreign vessels taking fuel from foreign countries. Risk of disease transfer from hoses, flanges, tools and documents must be considered when providing PPE. Strict hygiene control must be in place for all activities conducted onboard. Bunker barges to ensure washing facilities & sanitation is provided onboard. Minimum interaction with Master and crew of vessel – Bunker barges are also to observe the 14 day isolation period for high risk vessels.

Any confirmed cases of Coronavirus, suspected cases or other sickness are to be reported immediately to the nearest Port Control and to the Port Health Officer.

Ports may require a written declaration from the Master of the vessel that all are healthy onboard.

All South African Ports have increased their Security to level 2 of the Maritime Security Regulations 2004(ISPS) and this means more stringent measures in terms of access, searches and operations. A declaration of security (DOS) must be signed for every vessel on arrival.

Suspected cases should be discussed with public health call line no.0800 029 999. The local Port Health Office, Harbour Master and Agency must be informed of any suspected cases.

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

Source: Extracts from Transnet National Ports Authority Chief Harbour Master letter dated 14 April 2020

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