News: COVID-19 related US port restrictions
20 March 2020
With COVID-19 continuing to affect shipping operations globally, Standard Club has produced a summary of its effects on shipping operations at US ports.
The attached Excel spreadsheet is a compilation of practical knowledge and first-hand experience in major US ports collected from the club’s team of local correspondents. This information is accurate at the date of posting.
US correspondents were asked the following questions:
- What is the status of port operations in your jurisdiction?
- Has access to ships for investigations and documentation been restricted?
- Have crew changes, crew medical treatment, and repatriation been restricted?
- What current crew illness notification requirements are in place for your jurisdiction?
- Do local agents continue to provide full services?
- What is the status of Federal and State courts in your jurisdiction?
- Do your contact details remain accurate in view of remote working?
- Are there any mandatory quarantine restrictions in place in your jurisdiction for either ship or crew?
US Marine Safety Information
Most US ports are following the guidance of the US Coast Guard (USCG). The most recent USCG guidance is under Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 02-20. The current version is now MSIB 02-20 Change 3 dated 16 March 2020, attached on the right. MSIB 02-20 Change 3 provides the following general guidance:
Pursuant to the USCG’s preexisting authority ships destined for a US port are required to report to the CDC any sick or deceased crew/passengers during the 15 days prior to arrival at a US port 42 CFR 71.21.
- Illness of a person onboard a vessel that may adversely affect the safety of a vessel or port facility is a hazardous condition and must be immediately reported to the USCG Captain of the Port (COTP). 33 CFR 160.206. Cases of persons who exhibit symptoms consistent with Covid-19 must be reported to the COTP. Such persons will be evaluated and treated on a case by case basis.
- Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to Iran, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), 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), and United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, or who have embarked crewmembers who have been in any of those countries, within the last 14 days, with no sick crewmembers, will be permitted to enter the US and conduct normal operations, with restrictions. Crewmembers on these ships will be required under COTP authority to remain aboard the vessel except to conduct specific activities directly related to vessel cargo or provisioning operations.
- USCG considers it a hazardous condition under 33 CFR 160.216 if a crewmember who was in Iran, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), 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), the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland within the past 14 days is brought onboard the vessel during transit. This requires immediate notification to the nearest USCG COTP.
- USCG 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 USCG chain of command and the cognizant CDC quarantine station, who will coordinate with local health authorities.
US Port and Facility Information
On 19 March 2020, the USCG released a revised notice to address the effects of COVID-19 in respect of US ports and facilities (see attachment on the right). MSIB 07-20 provides the following guidance:
- Declarations of Security (DoS): Regulated entities are relieved from conducting face-to-face meetings to coordinate security needs, procedures and sign the DoS where its completion is required under 33 CFR 105.245.
- Declarations of Inspection (DoL): Vessel operators and owners are relieved from conducting face-to-face meetings to complete the DoL. The DoL meeting may now be completed over the radio, phone or at a safe social distance. However, both the person in control from the facility and ship must still communicate with each other prior to any transfers.
- Seafarers Access: The USCG reminds facility operators they are not permitted to impede embarkation/disembarkation of crew members. Such authority resides with the Customs and Border Patrol agency, the USCG and the CDC for medical matters.
If you have questions about any of this alert, or any jurisdictions which are not listed below, please contact your usual claims handler at the club for further assistance.