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BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report dated 7 January 2022

COVID 19 3 factors to help you stay safe


This BIMCO COVID 19 weekly report for the week ending 7 January covers the World Health Organization (WHO), Argentina, China, France, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and the latest from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Every week, BIMCO summarises measures imposed by governments for sea transport, including for crew change, as well as updates from United Nations bodies such as the IMO, WHO and International Labour Organization (ILO).

1. World Health Organization (WHO)

On 23 December, WHO issued an updated global technical brief and priority action required for Member states to enhance readiness for Omicron ( B.1.1.529), of which WHO has given an overview. The overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons (eg significant growth advantage over Delta leading to rapid spread in the community) and also due to the fact that the global risk of COVID-19 remains very high overall. A risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner is recommended and efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage as rapidly as possible should continue. See WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant for additional information.

Please see BIMCO-WHO for more information.

2. Government States


Extensions to 31 March 2022 or one year depending on the expiration dates, have been granted to certificates and titles issued by the National Merchant Navy of the Argentinian government. Refer to an IMO circular letter no. 4287/Add.7 for full details.


The Chinese Ministry of Transport has announced the establishment of a special class for the conduct of Chinese crew changes for ships at Chinese ports. It is in the form of a special class contact number : 010.65299809 and special email address: [email protected]. Take note however that in practice, crew changes at the various Chinese ports vary from port to port and members are encouraged to contact the port agent for the latest information available.


In the wake of increased spread of the Omicron variant in UK, the French government has implemented health control measures at the borders with UK effective 18 December, where amongst the measures taken, compelling reason must given for the travel. Reason such as tourism and business travel will not be accepted. Travelling as seafarers will be accepted however. For more information, please refer to the official French website on inbound travel to France.

Hong Kong, SAR

As Hong Kong (HK) has been tightening their border measures for inbound travellers in view of the Omicron development, the government has announced yesterday three more countries being added to their Group A list of countries – Grenada, Mauritania and Mayotte effective 9 January. Non-HK residents would not be allowed to enter if they had been to Group A countries within the last 21 days while HK residents fully vaccinated will be subject to strict quarantine and subsequent COVID tests conducted.

The government also announced the following COVID-19 measures:

  • place-specific flight suspension mechanism for Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States of America effective from 8 January to 21 January where air passengers from these countries will be prohibited from entry including those who have stayed in these places for more than two hours ( for example via transit) will also be denied entry.
  • Cape Verde, Niger and South Sudan added to the Group A list of countries.

Seafarers are not exempted for Group A list of countries unless they are HK residents.

Click here for a quick overview of the boarding and quarantine requirements for entry to HK and refer to the HK official website for inbound travel for full details of Group A list countries as well as requirements for sea crew members.


Singapore has extended assistance to their seafarers in the form of financial support for another six months to 30 June 2022. For more details, please refer to port marine circular no. 48/2021.

3. IMO Crew Change – National Focal Point for Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers

According to GISIS today, the list of countries (48) informing the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Ecuador ( new) Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Libya , the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco ( new) Myanmar, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore , Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden,Thailand , Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

4. IMO

The below circulars represent the latest information to-date from the IMO.

  • Addendum no. 35/rev. 8, issued on 13 October 2021, provides a consolidated list of the IMO members that have so far notified IMO on their designation of seafarers as key workers to-date with the latest additions of Bulgaria and Pakistan. The full list is shown below:

  • Addendum no.42 to IMO circular no. 4204 “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” issued on 17 September 2021 relating to joint IMO/ILO statement on upholding medical assistance obligations to seafarers and accelerating seafarer vaccination programmes.
  • Addendum no. 43 to IMO circular no 4204 “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” issued on 1 November 2021 offering a list of global ports offering vaccinations for seafarers.

5. Others

There is no news issued under this section for this report.


BIMCO General COVID-19 Links

BIMCO is continuously monitoring COVID-19 restrictions and its impact on the shipping industry in particular on crew changes. Below are some of the type of information currently being provided by BIMCO :

Details about implementation measures imposed for sea transport
Overview of challenges to crew mobility
Overview of extensions and exceptions to seafarers’ certificates
COVID-19 seafarers’ mental health
Source: BIMCO

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