Novel Coronavirus Update

The United States Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy has issued an update for US-bound vessels.

Here are the key provisions:

The following restrictions apply to the following countries: Iran, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), and beginning at 11:59 p.m. eastern standard daylight savings time on March 13, 2020 the European states within the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Per 42 CFR 71.21, vessels destined for a U.S. port are required to report to the CDC any sick or deceased crew/passengers during 15 days prior to arrival at the U.S. port. Guidance to vessels to report deaths and illnesses to the CDC can be found at: https://go.usa.gov/xdjmj. U.S. flagged commercial vessels are also advised to report ill crewmembers in accordance with the requirements of each foreign port called upon.

Vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders should be aware of the following restrictions:

  1. Passenger vessels or any vessel carrying passengers that have been to the countries noted above or embarked passengers who have been in the countries noted above within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States. If all passengers exceed 14 days since being in the countries noted above and are symptom free, the vessel will be permitted to enter the United States to conduct normal operations. These temporary measures are in place to safeguard the American public.

  2. Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to the countries noted above or embarked crewmembers from the countries noted above within the last 14 days, with no sick crewmembers, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and conduct normal operations, with restrictions. Crewmembers on these vessels will be required under COTP authority to remain aboard the vessel except to conduct specific activities directly related to vessel cargo or provisioning operations.
    Vessels carrying passengers from the countries noted above that originally departed and/or initiated

  3. Vessels carrying passengers from the countries noted above that originally departed and/or initiated from U. S. ports will be authorized to return to U. S. ports.

Vessel owners and operators should be aware of the following:

  • The Coast Guard will continue to review all “Notice of Arrivals” in accordance with current policies and will communicate any concerns stemming from sick or deceased crew or passengers to their Coast Guard chain of command and the cognizant CDC quarantine station, who will coordinate with local health authorities.

  • All commercial vessel operators and mariners are encouraged to exercise due diligence during daily operations and highly encouraged to follow the CDC Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected Coronavirus Diseases 2019.

  • Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crewmembers on their vessel prior to embarking the team.

  • Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard COTP, should review and be familiar with section 5310 Procedures for Vessel Quarantine and Isolation, and Section 5320 – Procedures for Security Segregation of Vessels in their Area Maritime Security Plan.

  • Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard COTP, should review and be familiar with their Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan.

  • Maritime facility operators are reminded that they are not permitted to impede the embarkation/disembarkation of crew members as permitted under Seafarer’s access regulations. This authority resides with CBP, Coast Guard, or the CDC for medical matters. Facility operators should contact their local CBP, Coast Guard, or CDC/health department offices if they have a specific request to restrict a crew member’s access.

  • The Coast Guard recommends that people review the CDC travel guidance (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) and the U.S.Department of State (DoS) Travel Advisories related to COVID-19 at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

In addition to the above restrictions, the Commandant has also issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin dated March 18, 2020 describing Port and Facility Operations. That document can be found here.

The World Health Organization has also posted guidance of managing COVID-19 cases and outbreaks on board ships. Find that guidance here.

ISWAN has issue mental health guidance for seafarers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here

Wilhelmson Ship Agencies has created an helpful interactive map displaying dynamic port restrictions around the world and what those restrictions entail. To access that site, click here.

This is a trying time for the world and the maritime industry. As always, IMC are here to assist our clients in any way that we're able.

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