The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created issues related to the shipboard interface between seafarers and shore-based personnel during port calls. These issues are often related to the ship’s crews and shore-based workers, such as agents, inspectors, pilots, stevedores, surveyors etc., following conflicting procedures to mitigate the risk of infection related to the virus.
Differing procedures and requirements are currently being set globally for shore-based workers by national Administrations, local authorities, professional organizations and employing companies compared with those being set by flag States and shipping companies to be followed on board ships by ship’s crews.
In view of above, IMO vide Circular Letter No. 4204/Add.16 has provided guidance to address major concerns and expectations of ship’s crews and shore-based personnel through the implementation of practical, risk-based measures to address COVID-19 risks to all personnel involved in the ship/shore interface.
The objective of all parties in the ship/shore interface should be to keep everyone as safe as possible at all times, regardless of whether they are seafarers serving onboard a ship or shore-based workers temporarily coming onboard, and not to place anyone at undue risk or in a position they feel is unacceptable.
In order to safely manage a port call with respect to the ship/shore interface, it is incumbent on all parties to communicate in advance of the port call, to be open regarding each party’s requirements to managing risk with respect to the COVID-19 virus and to be flexible and pragmatic in resolving any differences in requirements and expectations.
Ship Owners/ Operators and masters are advised to be guided by the attached IMO Circular Letter.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.