No Requirement for Vessels to Submit Seafarers' Nucleic Test Results before Calling Chinese Ports

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Based on Chinese government's new policy on improving epidemic prevention and control measures, a new version of Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in Ports and Their Frontline Personnel (the 12th edition) (hereinafter referred to as 'the 12th Guidelines') was issued by Ministry of Transport of P.R.C. on 8 December 2022, according to which, nucleic tests requirements in some cases are lifted, and restrictions on personnel entering ports are reduced to some extent. Some points related to international vessels are interpreted as follows. 

1. Seafarers' COVID-19 test results will be not required before vessels calling. 

Given the scope of vessel are not specified, vessels on international voyages shall be included herein. 

In addition, according to the 12th Guidelines, the following information still needs to be submitted before berthing. 

i) Ports of call, berthing/unberthing information within the preceding 14 days before vessel's arrival. 

ii) Crew's general information and health condition. Crew changes, embarkation and disembarkation personnel, materials and supplies delivery and personnel contact during berthing. 

iii) Ship's quarantine and epidemic prevention measures.

iv) Sewage treatment plant and ballast water management system. 

v) Reefer containers and refrigerated cargo in bulk.

vi) Disinfection and transfer of garbage from ships. 

2. Loading or discharging operation can only be proceeded in a safe manner on the premise that vessel accepted quarantine by the Customs, obtained quarantine certification materials and letters of commitment for crews 'health condition was submitted by the shipping company or its agent'. 

3. Port operation for domestic trade will no longer restrict port operation personnel to board the ship or ship's crew to enter the port operation area. However, for ships on international voyages, the measures of "avoiding unnecessary embarkation" by port operation personnel and "avoiding unnecessary disembarkation" by ship's crew shall be adopted. Crews are prohibited from entering foreign trade port operation areas. Ship-to-shore interaction of ships on international voyages is under strict control, and the ship's crew shall not disembark except for the necessities of life and production and in emergencies. 

In addition, there are some epidemic prevention and restriction measures yet to be modified. For example, closed-loop management is still required for ship agents and surveyors passing through port area to board ships on international voyages. 

Huatai Marine will continue to focus on the situation of epidemic prevention and control measures and keep you posted.

Neil Beckwith

Correspondent Manager/Claims Director