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Hot Port News from GAC


South Korea


Fos/Martigue/Lavera/Marseille, France

Hong Kong


Cork & Dublin, Ireland

Shenzhen/Qinzhou/Huizhou, China




On-signing & off-signing crews
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, South Korea

The South Korean Government has suspended the visa waiver, enabling on-signers to enter the country for crew changes without a visa. However, all people arriving in Korea by air must go into quarantine at a Government-designated facility for 14 days, at their own expense.

Off-signing crew must meet the following three conditions to pass Quarantine clearance
– Provide Travel Record Declaration form
– Install “self-diagnosis app” on their cell phone
– Have an E-ticket for their departure from Korea

Once they have passed Quarantine inspection, immigration clearance will be done as per the usual procedure. Anyone who cannot download the “self-diagnosis app” on their cell phone may not sign off at Korean ports.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Korea, contact the GAC Singapore Hub Agency Centre at hub.sg@gac.com

Crew changes permitted
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Spain

Spain has legislated that seafarers are key workers in a move that aims to ensure their movement through Spanish ports.

Seafarers disembarking in Spain to return to their home countries or embarking a vessel calling at a Spanish port must provide the following:
– Certificate of competency or proficiency or Seafarers’ identity document or Discharge book
– Employment agreement or Letter of appointment. This documentation will include, at least, the name of the vessel and her flag, port where the vessel is located and the estimated date of the embarkation/disembarkation.

Spain’s State of Emergency is currently in force until 10 May. Authorities are beginning to loosen some of the national lockdown restrictions, as the number of cases of COVID-19 is believed to have peaked.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Spain, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com

Anchorage available again for vessels
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Fos/Martigue/Lavera/Marseille, France

The Fos/Martigue/Lavera/Marseille anchorage area is available again for all vessels, though they are not authorised to stay at anchorage between 00:01 and 07:00 hours local time.

Any suspicious or confirmed cases of COVID-19 must be advised by the Master prior to arrival in the Maritime Declaration of Health. Thereafter, the vessel should await instructions from the Regional Health Authority. There is currently no curfew or quarantine.

Pilotage services not available between 23:00 and 05:00 hours, and it is not possible to serve more than 8 ships at Marseille and 4 at Fos simultaneously.

Strict precautionary measures are in place at the Lyondellbasell, Petroineos and Fluxel terminals.

At Marseille, crew members must stay on board at all times. At Fos Cavaou – Tonkin, access on board is reduced to minimum.

All cruise vessels and ferries carrying more than 100 passengers are forbidden.

Tug boats are disinfected during a 2-3 hour period a few days per week and are consequently not available during this period.

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in France, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com)

Source: SEA-invest Shipping Agency, France – GAC agent

Typhoon Season
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Hong Kong

Owners, agents and charterers are requested to remind their ship masters of the need to take precautionary measures during the approach of tropical cyclones.

Masters and persons in control of vessels should closely monitor the development of tropical cyclones for making early preparation. This includes carrying out thorough inspections on board to ensure the engine, mooring gears and other safety equipment of vessels are in good working conditions. When safe and practicable, consideration should be given to arrange vessels to leave the berth in ample time and proceed outside Hong Kong waters for shelter from extreme weather associated with super typhoons.

Masters, owners, agents and persons in control of vessels are also reminded of their obligation to comply with any direction issued by the Director of Marine concerning the safe operation of vessels and the port, or in relation to any matter which the Director may give directions under the Laws of Hong Kong.

When a tropical cyclone warning is issued by the Hong Kong Observatory, every vessel which is moored to the following government mooring buoys shall clear anchors and cables and prepare the main propulsion machinery to full power condition. Such vessel shall, if so directed by the Director, leave the mooring buoy –

“A” mooring
A29, A35, A38, A73, A74, A77, A78

“B” mooring
B02, B30

The master of a ship moored to a government mooring buoy may, at his discretion, drop a bow anchor under foot to lessen the tendency to sheer. This should not impair the efficiency of the mooring, although an anchor should not be used during normal weather conditions.

Masters are reminded that every vessel within the waters of Hong Kong must maintain continuous listening watch on the VHF radio channel appropriate to the VHF sector in which the vessel is located, or another VHF channel as may be specified by the Vessel Traffic Centre (call sign “MARDEP”). The Centre will broadcast tropical cyclone information from time to time when tropical cyclone warning signals have been issued. Masters should also listen to local radio broadcasts for weather advisory information bulletins.

An inadequately manned vessel during the passage of a tropical cyclone not only places itself at risk but also endangers the port and other vessels. Masters, owners, agents, and charterers of vessels should therefore ensure that sufficient number of qualified crew capable of carrying out all duties to ensure the safety of the ship having regard to the pertaining circumstances are on board at all times during the passage of a tropical cyclone.

Coxswains, owners, agents and persons in control of local vessels are advised to take the precautionary measures contained in the Marine Department pamphlet entitled “Measures to Enhance the Safety of Local Vessels During Passage of Tropical Cyclones” well before a tropical cyclone is approaching Hong Kong.

(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. 63/2020

Easing of lockdown proposed
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Pakistan

Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet has approved the gradual easing lockdown restrictions in the country gradually after 9 May.

It is focusing on open earning facilities to workers and daily wage earners provided that strict implementation of the coronavirus-related preventive measures suggested by the government is ensured.

The National Command and Operation Center has proposed multiple recommendations to ease lockdown restrictions, which may include the opening of inter-provincial public transportation with proper implementation of SOPs, opening phase-II of the construction sector and reopening of retail outlets.

The final decision yet to be taken.

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

Maritime Declaration of Health & COVID-19 questionnaire
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Cork & Dublin, Ireland

Vessels entering the ports of Cork and Dublin must submit a Maritime Declaration of Health and additional COVID-19 questionnaire for the Harbour Master and Port Health to vet prior to entry.

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

Crew temperature checks
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Shenzhen/Qinzhou/Huizhou, China

If the body temperature of any crew member of a vessel is found above 37.3’C, Customs will require Nucleic Acid test.

The test result takes 6-7 hours, and until they do, the vessel may not start cargo operations or personnel embark/disembarking.

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

Checks at sea ports
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Mauritania

All vessels calling at Mauritania sea ports must be screened by the Health Authority prior to berthing.

Crew changes are not permitted until further notice.

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

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Mauritania, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com

COVID-19 regulations
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Tunisia

Due to COVID-19, the following regulations have been put into forces by the port authorities in Tunisia:

Masters of vessels calling at Tunisian ports must report crew temperature twice daily (am & pm).
Masters must provide a disinfected area for authorities upon berthing.
No crew change or disembarkation for shore pass is permitted.
The wearing of masks is compulsory.
Free pratique is starting to be granted at roads instead at berth.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Tunisia, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com

Protocols for controlled crew change at anchorages within port limits
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, India

Crew changes can be conducted in the designated anchorage of Indian ports within port limits even if the vessel is not calling at the port for cargo/bunkering, etc.

In such cases, Port Health Officials are not required to board the vessel in order to grant Pratique, as the vessel will not be calling the port for berthing and would be only at anchorage. Port Health Officials may examine the seafarers once they arrive on berth for granting necessary clearances.

The boarding and disembarking of crew will be done observing all safety precautions and at the sole risk of the company/vessel requiring the crew change.

Boat/tug for crew change at anchorages is to be arranged by the ship owner/RPS agency or the port may arrange for the boat/tug for the crew change and the applicable expenses may be borne by the ship owner/RPS agency.

Notwithstanding above permissions for crew change, the owners, operators and Master of the vessel shall ensure that at all times the navigational safety, safety of crew/passengers, operational safety, rest period requirements for watch keepers, control of the vessel as defined in the relevant provisions of International Safety Management (ISM) code and rest hours requirements are complied with and such permission shall not cause any danger to person, property or the environment.

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

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