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News: Novel Coronavirus update – IMO and other member states release advisories

03 February 2020

On 30 January 2020, WHO declared that the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The latest situation report no 13 issued by WHO on 2 February 2020 states over 14,500 confirmed cases globally. The latest situation dashboard on the WHO website confirms that the virus has now spread to 23 other nations apart from China.

IMO has released guidance for the maritime industry and has issued two circulars which are available in the attachments on the right. The information and guidance provided by IMO in circular no 4204 gives information and guidance based on recommendations developed by the WHO on the precautions to be taken to minimise risks to seafarers, passengers and others on board ships. IMO further recommends to follow the advice from WHO, International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) and USCG.

Following the declaration of PHEIC various member states have stepped up their response to detect cases of 2019-nCoV infections and apply prevention and control practices to prevent outbreak. Confirmed cases have been reported from all over China and member states have now expanded additional control measures to person with travel history to all regions of mainland China.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has issued Port Marine Circular (PMC) no 2 and no 3 of 2020. While ships can continue to berth at terminals, visitors with travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter into Singapore. The PMC no 3 further requires all arriving vessels that have called at ports in China in the past 14 days, or all arriving vessels with crew/passengers who have travelled to mainland China in the past 14 days to complete a Maritime Declaration of Health. The circulars are available in the attachments on the right.

Australia and New Zealand authorities have also issued guidance which is available on the right. Maritime Industry Australia Limited (MIAL) has further updated us that a teleconference convened by Federal government agencies (border force, infrastructure, health, agriculture) bought together maritime interests to ensure uniform and consistent treatment of ships crew and passengers in light of the Novel Coronavirus. The advice for the ships crew is the same for anyone else. The memo states that:

  • if they have joined a ship, or been ashore in mainland china and returned to the ship from 1 February they will not be permitted to come ashore in Australia within the 14 day window from last being in China.
  • if any individual member of the crew meets these requirements, the entire crew will be treated as requiring the 14 day quarantine period.
  • marine pilots and others that need to come into contact with ships crew within the 14 day period should wear appropriate PPE (protective mask and gloves).

The club correspondent in China has also issued an update on the situation in China. The information states that the operation of cargo ships at all the seaports is going on normally, amid an increased state of alert in response to the coronavirus, although detailed requirements in different ports may vary slightly. At some ports, loading and or discharging operation may be slow due to the lack of stevedores and terminal staff who are away for the prolonged lunar new year holiday.

Standard Club is guided by the views and recommendations issued by the World Heath Organisation (WHO) in respect of this outbreak and advises members to remain vigilant and fully updated with regards to the spread of the virus. We recommend members to check with the local agents and club correspondents on the latest information required before entering port and contact us incase they need any assistance.