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People’s Republic of China (PRC): restrictions on vessels making port calls within 14 days of crew changes

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many ports in the PRC are implementing strict control measures on vessels which have changed crew overseas within 14 days of arrival at those PRC ports.

Some ports are adopting these control measures for vessels having changed crew in the Philippines in particular. Other ports have implemented measures for any vessels having changed crew regardless of where such change took place.

These control measures are summarized in the attached Huatai Marine Circular PNI[2020]10, Chinese Ports—Special Epidemic Prevention and Control Measures on Vessels Having Changed Crews Overseas within 14 Days.

Your Managers recommend that Members take note of this information and be guided accordingly. They also wish to thank the Club’s correspondents, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consulting Services, Ltd., for their assistance in providing this important guidance.

Chinese Ports – Special Epidemic Prevention and Control Measuresnon Vessels Having Changed Crew Overseas within 14 Days
Dear Sir/Madam,
Recently, Chinese ports are strengthening epidemic prevention and control measures on vessels havingnchanged crew overseas within 14 days, especially for Pilipino seafarers or vessels that have changed crewnmembers in the Philippines.

Background
Since the Philippines resumed crew change in this July, more and more vessels changed their crew in thenPhilippines. Unfortunately, a number of crew members from the Philippines were detected COVID-19npositive. We have seen a number of cases at Zhoushan, Guangdong and Tianjin etc.

In view of the above situation, some Chinese ports have strengthened epidemic prevention and controlnmeasures. Some ports implemented more strict measures for vessels which had changed crew in thenPhilippines within 14 days. Some other ports strengthened control measures for all vessels which hadnchanged crew overseas within 14 days, whether in the Philippines or not.

Epidemic Control Measures
The updated control measures at Chinese main ports include but not limited to the followings:

• Dalian
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew were nchanged in the Philippines or not, all/part of the crew members on board need to receive nucleic acid test.

• Bayuquan
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew werenchanged in the Philippines or not, she has to drop anchor at the anchorage and entry application will onlynbe granted 14 days after the date of crew change.

• Tianjin
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew werenchanged in the Philippines or not, the Customs shall conduct sampling and testing on the newly changedncrew members. The vessel is only permitted to commence cargo operation if the test results are negative.

• Qingdao
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew werenchanged in the Philippines or not, she has to drop anchor at the anchorage and entry application will onlynbe granted 14 days after the date of crew change.

• Shanghai
No specific regulations for Pilipino crew members or crew members embarked in the Philippines.

• Inland ports close to Shanghai
– Zhenjiang
If the vessel has changed its crew within 14 days before its arrival, the vessel is required to report to thenCustoms in advance and wait for further instructions. Quarantine may be conducted at the anchorage first.
– Changshu
If the vessel has called at a foreign port or changed its crew within 14 days before its arrival, the Customsnshall conduct sampling and testing on the crew members. The vessel is only permitted to commence cargonoperation if the test results are negative.
– Zhangjiagang
If the vessel has called at a foreign port or changed its crew within 14 days before its arrival, the Customsnshall conduct sampling and testing on the crew members. The vessel is permitted to commence cargonoperation while waiting for the test results.
• Ningbo
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, the Customs and otherndepartments will carry out risk assessment on the vessel. The nucleic acid test will be conducted if thenCustoms deem necessary. Berthing schedule will only be fixed if the test results are negative.
• Zhoushan
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew werenchanged in the Philippines or not, she has to drop anchor at the anchorage and entry application will only nbe granted 14 days after the date of crew change.
• Xiamen
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew werenchanged in the Philippines or not, newly changed crew members should receive nucleic acid tests and thencargo operation could only be commenced if the results are negative.
• Guangzhou
If the vessel has changed its crew overseas within 14 days before its arrival, whether the crew werenchanged in the Philippines or not, all/part of the crew members on board have to receive the nucleic acid test. The vessel is only permitted to commence cargo operation if the test results are negative.
• Zhuhai
Though there is no official declaration, vessels that have recently changed crew in the Philippines are not permitted to call at the port. If the vessel has changed her crew in other countries within 14 days before its arrival, she is only permitted to take her berth 14 days after the date of crew change.
Test method/item
Generally, the Customs collect throat swab from the crew and conduct nucleic acid testing for the novel Coronavirus. If the nucleic acid test result is positive, the crew member will be sent to the hospital for further tests. The test method is throat swab + blood test and the test items are novel Coronavirus nucleic acid + antibody. CT scan may also be conducted for diagnosis.
When crew are tested positive to COVID-19 Crew members with positive test results will be sent to the designated hospital ashore for medical treatment and the vessel will be disinfected. The Customs will conduct further test to the remaining crew members and the cargo. The vessel will be allowed to commence cargo operation if the test results are negative.
The vessel may sail if the crew member receiving medical treatment ashore obtain entry permit. In case the vessel becomes undermanned as a result of the confirmed cases of her crew member, she has to arrange replacement of crew. Alternatively, the vessel may apply her flag state for an exemption before sailing.
If the crew member receiving medical treatment ashore fails to obtain entry permit, the vessel is only permitted to sail after recovery and returning to the vessel of the crew.
Our experiences suggest that the following factors will determine whether the affected crew member receiving medical treatment ashore will be granted for an entry permit:
• Policies/measures implemented by the local government/port authorities
• Medical condition of the crew member
• Number of affected crew members
• Vessel’s schedule, etc.
Local correspondent’s assistance could substantially expedite the application process of the entry permit.
Epidemic prevention and control measures will change with the epidemic situation. If you need the most up to date prevention and control measures in Chinese ports, please contact our branch offices directly.
As always, we are ready to render assistance to Clubs and Members.
Source: The American Club

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