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Australia – Coronavirus Disease Update

All ports

The Australian Government announced that all travellers entering Australia from 0001 AEDST 16 March 2020 must undertake a precautionary self-isolation period for up to 14 days upon entry to Australia. This applies to any traveller entering Australia, inclusive of Australian citizens and permanent residents. For any travelers who are entering Australia for less than 14 days, they must self-isolate for the entire duration of their stay.

These measures apply to all travellers entering Australia via aircraft and cruise ships. The travel restrictions for mainland China, Iran, the Republic of Korea and Italy remain in place.

All travellers will be notified of the precautionary self-isolation requirement through an updated health fact sheet. Travellers may be required to complete a form confirming that they understand they are required to complete the self-isolation period for up to 14 days.

Any travellers, who are transiting through Australia to an international destination must remain in the airport, or self-isolate (for up to 14 days) in their accommodation, for the duration of their planned transit.

Precautionary self-isolation requirement for commercial vessels entering Australia 17 March 2020.

On 15 March 2020, the Australian Government announced that all persons entering Australia from 0001 AEDST 16 March 2020 must undertake a precautionary self-isolation period for up to 14 days upon entry to Australia. This applies to any person entering Australia, inclusive of Australian citizens and permanent residents. For persons who are entering Australia for less than 14 days, they must self-isolate for the entire duration of their stay. These measures apply to all people entering Australia including via aircraft and vessels.

The travel restrictions for mainland China, Iran, the Republic of Korea and Italy remain in place for all travellers including maritime crew. All crew will be notified of the precautionary self-isolation requirement through an updated health fact sheet.

For all Commercial Vessels arriving from any port outside Australia, all vessel masters must answer health screening questions as part of their entry reporting:

  • ABF and Biosecurity officers remain responsible for border clearance processes.
  • Vessels that report ill persons with relevant symptoms will undergo a human health inspection by a Biosecurity Officer on arrival in Australia, and before the vessel is granted pratique.

For crew members on a vessel:

  • All crew must remain on-board while the vessel is berthed in Australia.
  • Crew are only able to disembark to conduct essential vessel functions and crew must wear personal protective equipment while performing these functions.
  • These restrictions apply until 14 days has elapsed since the vessel departed the last port before Australia, unless crew are unwell or there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on-board.
  • The period maritime crew spend at sea prior to their arrival in Australia counts towards the 14-day period of self-isolation. In practice, if a vessel has travelled for ten days since last being in a foreign port, the period of precautionary self-isolation for its crew members would be the remaining four days.
  • Where a crew member is signing off a vessel (within the 14 day period) and remaining in Australia they must self-isolate at their accommodation for the remainder of the 14 day self-isolation period.
  • Crew members departing Australia may proceed directly to the airport and depart; or they must self isolate at their accommodation until the time they proceed to the airport.
  • International crew members joining a commercial vessel voyage are subject to a 14 day self-isolation period. Crew are permitted to transit through Australia but must remain in the port or airport, or self-isolate in accommodation for the duration of their transit. Crew must self isolate at their final destination for the remainder of the 14 days.

Travel restriction for all non-Australian citizens and non-residents

As of 29 March 2020, the following restrictions are in place for the Australian Border:

  1. Non-Australian citizens and non-Australian residents are not permitted to enter Australia, via aircraft or sea vessel, unless an exemption applies.
  2. All Australian citizens and permanent residents are prohibited from departing Australia unless an exemption applies.
  3. All passengers arriving in Australia will be subject to the Australian Government’s mandatory quarantine period of 14-days at their first Australian destination unless an exemption applies.

The following arrangements are in place for maritime crew:

  • Maritime crew may enter and depart Australia.
  • Maritime crew are not subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine however, they will be required to comply with self-isolation requirements set out.
  • Maritime crew may be subject to additional state and territory controls.
  • Maritime crew includes any person required to be part of a crew operating a commercial vessel or an offshore installation (i.e. oil and gas) in Australian waters. This includes Australian and New Zealand Citizens, permanent residents, maritime crew visa holders and sub-class 400 (temporary specialist worker) visa holders.

Dalrymple Bay

A vessel must not enter DBCT pilotage area until 14 days have elapsed since the vessel’s departure from mainland China on or after 1 February 2020.

Whilst a Pilot will not be allowed to board a vessel prior to this 14 days elapsing, vessels are allowed to arrive at the Outer Anchorage.  Therefore a vessel can technically arrive and tender NOR when they reach the Outer Anchorage which in most cases will be prior to the 14 days.  To ensure that a vessel is not physically planned to berth prior to this date, a Planning ETA is to be applied under the banner “MSQ Quarantine Rule”.  This Planning ETA will be reflective of the vessels’ departure date from China + 14 days.

The definition of an ATA under the Terminal Regulations is, in respect of a relevant arrival of a vessel, the time when the last of the following occurs:

  • the vessel has reached the “commercial area of the port” or the “normal waiting place” identified by the Hay Point Harbour Master,
  • the vessel is ready in all respects to be towed, berthed, deballasted and loaded without delay; and
  • a copy of the Notice of Readiness (such notice is customarily presented to a shipper or their agent by the Master or the ship’s agent) has been tendered to the Operator by the Master or ship’s agent, confirming the readiness of the arrived Vessel to undertake the operations in the second point above.

Hay Point

All vessels will be treated as high risk effective immediately.

General Controls

  • Vessels must spend a minimum of 14 days at sea prior to entry to QLD Pilotage areas.
  • Biosecurity approval required prior to any ship berthing at Hay Point, approval to be documented.
  • Vessels must complete MSQ Survey. If YES answered to any questions MSQ will consult with relevant departments prior to acceptance of vessel into QLD Pilotage areas.
  • Health Risk Signage installed on Vessel Access Ladders.
  • Car 10 and Car 3 personnel to treat any cold and flu symptoms seriously, following the escalation process if on site or if at home isolate, utilize a face mask and proceed to health care provider, when safe to do so escalate to Production Superintendent.
  • PPE provided at Production Office, Operation Car 3/10 Vehicles (sanitiser, wipes, masks).
  • Vessel radio are to be cleaned using alcohol wipes by Car 3 or Car 10 prior to taking on next vessel.

Boarding Vessels

  • Supervisors will NOT be boarding vessels. Agents are strongly recommended not to attend. Draft surveyor will be the only one attending the vessel.
  • Paperwork (Crew Working in Holds, Ships Access Gangway Procedure, Ship to Shore Safety Checklist, Loading Sequence) to be signed by the Master and emailed back to Hay Point Terminal office prior to berthing
  • Essential ships personnel only to interact with terminal personnel (e.g. ship security station officer, C/O and master), all other ships personnel are to be directed to maintain at least 1m distance.
  • Accept no food or drink on vessel.
  • Observe proper hygiene practices at all times – wash hands regularly and thoroughly, keep hands and fingers away from eyes, nose and mouth.
  • If any crew members are observed to be ill or report illness whilst alongside, immediately remove all terminal personnel from the vessel, barricade the SAL and escalate to Production Superintendent.
  • Shipping paperwork is to be completed outside of the accommodation. Ship file to be provided in ring bound folder. This will be best achieved utilizing the security station outside the accommodation unit.
  • Security station is to be appropriately cleaned and sanitized prior to berthing.
  • Minimum PPE requirements are to be observed by both terminal and ship personnel (face mask, gloves, glasses) at all times. Additionally PPE will be made available for ship’s crew if they have failed to provide their own or PPE looks in poor condition.
  • Maintain >1m distance from ship’s crew if possible.
  • Hand sanitiser made available for use must be minimum 60% alcohol based.
  • No terminal loading spotters allowed on vessels – if in doubt, underload hatch.
  • Gloves are to be sprayed with disinfectant and disposed of immediately upon disembarkment.
  • Hands to be washed thoroughly on disembarkment after glove disposal.

Mackay

As per the normal process, all cruise and commercial vessels entering Australian territory are legally required to report ill passengers and crew presenting on the pre-arrival report via the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS). A biosecurity officer will then meet the vessel to screen for coronavirus and other serious infectious diseases. Biosecurity officers do this by administering the Traveller with Illness Checklist (TIC) to the ill passenger or crew member, or by discussing case diagnoses with the ship’s doctor. A biosecurity officer or human biosecurity officer may then issue directions for the management of a suspected case of coronavirus which are legally required to be followed.

All vessels entering Australian territory may be asked additional questions about:

  • whether the vessel left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
  • whether any crew or passengers left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
  • whether any crew or passengers have been in contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus disease in the previous 14 days.

Vessels that meet any of the following will be subject to additional coronavirus requirements:

  • Vessels that have left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
  • Vessels with crew or passengers who have left, or transited through, mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 and less than 14 days ago.
  • Vessels that have had ill crew or passengers on board in the past 14 days.
  • Vessels that have crew or passengers who have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus disease in the past 14 days.

New South Wales

All crew regardless of visa status, self-isolation status or time at sea are ‘RESTRICTED ON BOARD’ of their respective vessels in all NSW ports, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Crew will not be allowed to leave their vessels without explicit approval from the Commissioner of Police NSW.

Masters of all ships due to arrive at our ports are required to answer the following questions:

  1. What were the last 5 ports of call?
  2. Are there any ill passengers or crew on board?
  3. Are any crew members or passengers showing symptoms of Covid-19 on board?
  4. Has the vessel been in mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea or Italy in the last 14 days? What date did the vessel depart these countries?
  5. Has any person on the vessel been in contact with a proven case of novel coronavirus infection in the last 14 days.
  6. Are there any crew or passengers who have left, or transited through, mainland China or Iran, Republic of Korea or Italy less than 14 days ago?
  7. For the purpose of this instruction, 14 days will mean 14 calendar days (e.g. if the vessel has sailed out of a Chinese port at 1000 hours local time on 1 March, she will only be allowed to enter into the port at 0001 hours local time on 16 March).
  8. Where Covid-19 is suspected or confirmed Port Authority will risk assess the situation and obtain further advice from the respective government agencies prior to boarding the vessel;
  9. If any person joins the vessel after her departure from the previous port, and if that person has left or transited through mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea or Italy less than 14 days ago, the 14 calendar day count will recommence from the date of the last person joining the vessel.
  10. Port Authority will delay pilotage services to ships that have transited from mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea or Italy which have been at sea for less than the 14 calendar day quarantine period, or 14 calendar days from the date of the last person joining the vessel.

Queensland

Effective immediately, Queensland’s Reef Vessel Traffic Services (REEFVTS) will require all foreign trading ships that are inbound to the Torres Strait, Hydrographers Passage, Whitsundays Pilotage areas are to provide the following information until further notice:

  1. Report whether the vessel has visited mainland China or South Korea in the past 14 days.
  2. Report if any Crew Member or passenger has visited Mainland China or South Korea in the past 14 days.
  3. Report if any Crew Member or passenger is showing any of the Novel Coronavirus symptoms that include fever, flu-like symptoms cough, sore throat, headache or difficulty breathing.

If answers to all the above questions is NO, the Vessel will be free to proceed under pilotage. There is no need to advise the pilotage company, however confirmation can be given if requested to the pilot launch or helicopter prior to pilot boarding.

If the answer is YES to Question 1 and/or 2, VTS is to advise the pilotage company immediately.

If the answer is YES Question 3 VTS is to advise the RHM who will make the appropriate notifications to State and Federal agencies for further advice. Any such vessels may be directed to remain outside of the Compulsory Pilotage Area until assessed and cleared by appropriate government qualified personnel.

In the case of vessels entering the reporting area via Swain and Sandy Cape, Reef VTS may either communicate with the ship via Inmarsat C or wait until VHF comms are satisfactory. If there is no response from a vessel entering IVO Swain, this will form part of the vessel handover / takeover procedure with Gladstone VTS.

If in the event of a ship being non-compliant by:

  • not providing a pre-entry report, or
  • not providing answers to the questions

The vessel is to be directed to remain outside the pilotage area until such time as the above questions have been answered.

If the situation arises where Reef VTS are unable to contact the vessel prior to pilot boarding, Reef VTS will notify the pilotage company advising that Reef VTS has attempted to contact the vessel but were unsuccessful and requesting the pilot company to communicate directly with the vessel.

This direction applies to the masters of all ships in Queensland waters intending to enter a Queensland pilotage area if:

  • the ship left, or transited through a port in mainland China or South Korea (both of which are a relevant country) in the last 14 days, or
  • any crew or other person on board the ship (a relevant person) has travelled to or transited through a relevant country in the last 14 days.

The ship must navigate or otherwise operate the ship in relation to the pilotage area as follows:

  • The ship must not enter a Queensland pilotage area until 14 days have elapsed since the ship or any relevant person on board the ship left a relevant country, whichever is later.
    • Country-specific’ exemptions to the General Manager’s Direction has been granted for vessels arriving from the following countries:
      – New Zealand
      – Papua New Guinea
      – South West Pacific Nations (to be defined by specific island states)
      – Singapore

Townsville

Effective from 2359 Thursday 30th April 2020, MSQ permits all vessels (with the exception of vessels from China and South Korea at this point) to be received within 14-days of last international port, provided:

  • Immediately prior to pilot boarding, the master has given a declaration (through VTS) on the health of the crew (including confirming none of the crew are displaying symptoms of COVID 19
  • There is compliance with any Federal Directives.