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Hot Port News from GAC

23-Jul-2020

SHUTDOWN OF ALL GOVERNORATES ANNOUNCED
Oman

NATIONAL DAY PARADE 2020 SAIL PAST: RESTRICTION ON VESSELS
Singapore

ISSUE OF SEAFARER VISAS ON ARRIVAL
Netherlands

PORT RESTRICTED
Buckeye Bahamas Hub, Bahamas

CREW KIDNAPPINGS SURGE IN SEAS OFF WEST AFRICA: IMB REPORT
Worldwide

RESTRICTIONS ON ENTRY TO COUNTRY
Greece

Shutdown of all governorates announced
Thursday, July 23, 2020, Oman

In view of the increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus and to limit its spread, Oman’s Supreme Committee on COVID-19 has decided to close all governorates between 25 July and 8 August.

It has also been decided to prevent all types of movement and close public places and shops between the hours of 7pm and 6am during this period, with intensified patrols and points of control in the daytime. The committee also called for stopping gatherings of all kinds, especially Eid prayers, traditional Eid markets (landings), greeting gatherings, and collective celebrations of the feast.

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

National Day Parade 2020 Sail Past: Restriction on vessels
Thursday, July 23, 2020, Singapore

This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) 2020 will involve a maritime sail past. The rehearsal will be held in Eastern Anchorage on 29 July 2020.

The Port Master hereby restricts all vessels from transiting, anchoring or remaining in the demarcated area at the Eastern Anchorages. This restriction shall take effect on the following date and time:
29 July 2020 0900H – 1400H Rehearsal

The demarcated areas are bounded by the following coordinates (WGS 84 Datum).

AREA A
1) 01 deg. 14.680’N / 103 deg. 52.680’E
2) 01 deg. 14.900’N / 103 deg. 53.020’E
3) 01 deg. 14.220’N / 103 deg. 53.670’E
4) 01 deg. 14.000’N / 103 deg. 53.280’E

AREA B
1) 01 deg. 14.680’N / 103 deg. 52.180’E
2) 01 deg. 15.070’N / 103 deg. 52.290’E
3) 01 deg. 15.240’N / 103 deg. 52.120’E
4) 01 deg. 15.010’N / 103 deg. 51.800’E
5) 01 deg. 15.040’N / 103 deg. 51.750’E
6) 01 deg. 15.410’N / 103 deg. 51.730’E
7) 01 deg. 15.750’N / 103 deg. 52.210’E
8) 01 deg. 16.030’N / 103 deg. 52.020’E
9) 01 deg. 16.170’N / 103 deg. 52.220’E
10) 01 deg. 16.330’N / 103 deg. 52.110’E
11) 01 deg. 16.560’N / 103 deg. 52.430’E
12) 01 deg. 16.440’N / 103 deg. 52.490’E
13) 01 deg. 16.620’N / 103 deg. 52.720’E
14) 01 deg. 16.680’N / 103 deg. 52.630’E
15) 01 deg. 17.000’N / 103 deg. 53.100’E
16) 01 deg. 17.000’N / 103 deg. 53.910’E
17) 01 deg. 16.800’N / 103 deg. 54.120’E

Vessels anchored or moored within the demarcated areas are required to relocate to an alternate anchorage as directed by the Port Master, by the following date and time:
28 July 2020 2359H Rehearsal

During the restricted timing mentioned, Harbour crafts operating to and from Marina South Pier (MSP) may continue to depart from MSP or transit through the demarcated areas. However, they will not be allowed to depart from MSP, or transit through the demarcated areas, during the following timings:

Restricted Timings for Harbour crafts operating to and from Marina South Pier

29 July 2020
1045H – 1115H
1155H – 1225H
1305H – 1335H

All vessels navigating in port are to keep clear of the demarcated areas during the timing mentioned and continue to maintain a proper lookout, navigate at a safe speed and keep a listening watch on VHF Ch 12, East Control, for traffic advisories.

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

Source: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine Notice No.047 of 2020

Issue of seafarer visas on arrival
Thursday, July 23, 2020, Netherlands

Since the second half of June 2020, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee have offered an expanded capacity for the issue of visas on arrival to seafarers arriving at Schiphol Airport (65 visas per day). The initial limitation to only seafarers joining Dutch ships (a. ship of a Dutch shipping company or b. ships flying the Dutch flag) was lifted today (22 July).

Visa on arrival at Schiphol is now available to seafarers when the following two cumulative criteria are met:
1. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic (closure, limited capacity, or technical restrictions) it was not possible to obtain a visa at a Dutch embassy or consulate in the country of residence.
2. One will sign on in a Dutch seaport.

To apply for a visa on arrival at Schiphol Airport one the procedure published on the website of the Dutch Government must be followed. Applications should contain information on the reason(s) why application for a visa in the residential country was not possible. The information on the website of the government has not yet been updated, but you should neglect the Dutch ship criterion if not applicable.

According to the procedure, a reservation should first be made for every single seafarer for a slot, before the application can be submitted to the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. From 1 August 2020 a reservation fee of € 5.00 (excluding VAT) per slot time reservation for a VOA application for a seafarer will apply. Applicants will be invoiced on a monthly basis via the KVNR (consolidated invoice for the number of reservations made per month). The fee is due once the reservation has been made, also when the reservation is cancelled at a later stage or when the subsequent application for a visa is rejected by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.

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

Port Restricted
Thursday, July 23, 2020, Buckeye Bahamas Hub, Bahamas

Due to deteriorating weather conditions, Buckeye Bahamas Hub went to Port Restricted status at 00:01 hours EDT today (23 July).

Weather conditions are being closely monitored and updates will be provided as conditions changes.

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

Source: Elnet Maritime – GAC agent

Crew kidnappings surge in seas off West Africa: IMB report
Thursday, July 23, 2020, Worldwide

Violent attacks against ships and their crews have risen in 2020, with 77 seafarers taken hostage or kidnapped for ransom since January, reveals the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest piracy report. The Gulf of Guinea off West Africa is increasingly dangerous for commercial shipping, accounting for just over 90% of maritime kidnappings worldwide. Meanwhile ship hijackings are at their lowest since 1993.

The increasing threat of piracy adds to hardships already faced by hundreds of thousands of seafarers working beyond their contractual periods due to COVID-19 restrictions on crew rotations and international travel…

…So far this year, 49 crew have been kidnapped for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea and held captive on land for up to six weeks. Rates are accelerating, with 32 crew kidnapped in the past three months alone. And they are happening further out to sea: two-thirds of the vessels were attacked on the high seas from around 20 to 130 nautical miles off the Gulf of Guinea coastline.

IMB PRC urges vessels to report any attacks promptly. It can then liaise with coastal agencies, international navies and vessel operators, encouraging a quick response to deter piracy and armed robbery and improve the security of seafarers. The Piracy Reporting Centre also broadcasts to shipping via GMDSS Safety Net Services and email alerts to Company Security Officers…

…In one recent case commended by IMB, the Nigerian Navy responded promptly to a distress call from a fishing vessel boarded and hijacked by armed assailants in Ivory Coast waters. As a result the crew were saved and the ship was prevented from being used as a possible mother vessel to carry out further attacks.

In another incident, a product tanker was attacked while underway around 127 nm off Bayelsa, Nigeria. Eight armed pirates kidnapped ten crew as well as stealing cash, personal valuables, and ship’s property. IMB PRC contacted regional and international authorities, and a Nigerian Navy Security Vessel was dispatched. A nearby sister vessel helped the four remaining crewmembers to sail the tanker to a safe port. The kidnapped crew were released three weeks later.

The Singapore Straits saw 11 incidents in the first half of 2020, raising the risk of collisions in this busy shipping channel, especially at night. Although most are opportunistic, low-level attacks that are aborted once the alarm is sounded, two reports in May 2020 indicated crew were threatened with knives, taken hostage and injured.

There were ten attacks in Indonesian anchorages and waterways in Q2 2020, up from five in Q1 2020.

IMB is recording more incidents in new areas of Latin America, but says many further attacks go unreported, making the problem more difficult to tackle.

The four attacks that were reported in Mexico all targeted offshore vessels, and all happened within a span of 11 days in April. One anchored accommodation barge was boarded by six people wearing face masks and armed with automatic weapons and pistols. They attempted to enter, and opened fire, injuring a crewmember and damaging three windows. The Master raised the alarm, sent a distress message, informed the CSO, and the crew mustered in the citadel. The incident was reported to the Marine Control via VHF Ch16 and a naval boat was dispatched, but the attackers escaped with the barge’s high value project equipment.

Incidents continue to be reported off Callao anchorage, Peru. Meanwhile, vessels off neighbouring Ecuador have recorded incidents each year since 2017, with at least three container ships attacked while underway in Q2 2020. In one case, two crew were taken hostage for the duration of the robbery and in another the perpetrators fired on the ship when they were unable to gain access.

No incidents were reported off Somalia. Vessels are urged to continue implementing BMP5 recommended practices while transiting these waters. The Somali pirates still maintain the capability for carrying out attacks.

(For information about operations around the world contact the respective GAC office. Details may be found at www.gac.com)

Source: Extracts from ICC International Maritime Bureau (www.icc-ccs.org) July report

Restrictions on entry to country
Thursday, July 23, 2020, Greece

Greece has temporarily refused entry to the country for non-EU nationals, but seafarers are exempted from this measure as well as the citizens of the following countries: Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

All flights from/to Turkey as well as any sea, rail, road connections have been postponed. Flights from/to Albania and North Macedonia (except those to/from Athens International Airport) and sea, rail, road connections are also postponed. Entry into the country from Bulgaria via any rail and roads connections is temporarily refused, with the exemption of Promachonas entry point, which is subject to Covid-19 test result prior to departure.

All travellers, including seafarers, must fill in the online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) latest 48 hours prior to the departure from their home country in order to avoid any penalties from the authorities in Greece. For further information and instructions, go to https://travel.gov.gr.

Travellers must have a copy of the form and present it to Sanitary Officers. Unless otherwise instructed, sample checks for COVID-19 will be conducted and passengers will stay in quarantine until the results are out. In case of a positive result, the person will be quarantined for 14 days and further instructions will be provided by Authorities / National Public Health Organisation.

This procedure will apply until 31 August.

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

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