Australia – Coronavirus Disease Update

All ports

On 1 May 2020, the CHO issued the Public Health Direction – Border Restrictions which applies to people travelling interstate and coming to Queensland from another State or Territory. This will be relevant to crew members having to take a domestic leg as part of their travel to join a ship, departing from a Queensland port.

The Chief Health Officer’s Border Restrictions (No.5), Schedule 1, contains provisions that incorporate the National Cabinet agreement and applies ‘to Australian and international crew working on commercial ships (not cruise ships).

Vessels may berth in Australia at any time, however if the vessel arrives within 14-days from their last international port of call or from the last time crew (not including cruise ship crew) joined the vessel within Australia and all occupants aboard the vessel have declared that they are healthy, the following restrictions apply:

  • Maritime crew are not subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine however, they will be required to comply with self-isolation requirements.
  • Crew travelling to Australia (by aircraft) to join a vessel must adhere to the following arrangements:
    • On arrival at an Australian airport, crew must declare to an ABF officer they are joining a vessel or offshore installation. They will then be directed to a biosecurity officer.
    • Crew may take a domestic flight/s to their final destination to meet their vessel but must self-isolate at their accommodation if they have a layover at any time.
  • All crew must remain on-board while the vessel is berthed in a port or any other place where cargo is loaded or unloaded.
  • Crew are able to disembark to conduct essential vessel functions and crew must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while performing these functions.
  • Crew must also use PPE in public spaces on board the vessel while non-crew members are on-board.
  • These restrictions apply until 14 days has elapsed since the vessel departed the last foreign port before Australia or the last time crew joined the vessel within Australia, unless crew are unwell or there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on-board. If a person is unwell, there will be a human biosecurity assessment, and if indicated, a subsequent referral to state and territory human biosecurity officer (public health doctor) for direction as per current process.

The period maritime crew spend at sea prior to their arrival in Australia and during operations in Australia since the last time crew joined the vessel (emphasis added) 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 self-isolation for its crew members would be the remaining four 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.


There is no requirement for vessels to have been underway for 14 days or more from an overseas port prior to arrival for Port of Brisbane, Townsville, Port Alma, Bundaberg and Gladstone. 

VTS will continue to query vessel’s prior to pilot boarding to confirm the vessel’s last port, departure time and presences of any COVID-19 symptoms.

All other Queensland Ports, vessel entry requires 14 days since departure from last overseas port. Vessels can apply for an exemption to the respective Regional Harbour Master if they are arriving within 14 days from Singapore, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Southwest Pacific. This also includes specific trades such as livestock carriers.

Vessels planning to arrive within 14 days of departure from Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia will be required to:

  1. Detail crew changes undertaken whilst in the that previous port/country.
  2. Detail specific measures taken to minimise the potential expose of infection to existing crew.
  3. Detail of any other mitigation strategies were employed at the previous port if cargo was handled.

The process to be followed is:

  1. No less than 48hrs prior to vessel arrival the Agent is to send an electronic question form to the vessel Master.
  2. Completed form to be returned to the VTS centre for processing 24hrs prior to arrival of the vessel (pilot onboard time).
  3. VTS to send the form to the Duty Harbour Master for their assessment.
  4. Duty Harbour Master to advise VTS that the vessel is approved for entry.
  5. If the vessel is clear to berth, VTS to advise vessels Agent.
  6. If further assessment deemed necessary, General Manager to be informed and vessel advised.

Ben Line Agencies’ global partner – WaterFront carves new territory with Houston move

18 July 2019 – Global port agency business, WaterFront Maritime Services (WaterFront) has today opened a local agency office in Houston, Texas. The company, which is one of the world’s largest port agency networks, says its Houston office has been established to help charterers, owners, and operators to manage their risk in this strategically important high-volume location.

WaterFront’s Houston office is managed by newly appointed Director for North America Lars Westerberg, a port agency industry veteran who was formerly Regional Director Americas for Seven Seas and Managing Director of Wallem Americas. Prior to these roles, Westerberg also served as Regional Managing Director of Inchcape Shipping Services in North and Central America.

The team in WaterFront’s Houston office will attend vessels directly from Corpus Christi to Lake Charles, including all terminals and all facilities. The Houston office will also serve as the regional hub for WaterFront in North, South and Central America including the Caribbean and is linked to WaterFront’s existing regional hubs in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur to provide 24-hour coverage to its global client base.

Terry Gidlow, Chief Executive Officer of WaterFront, commented:

“On a global basis we see how significant political developments, evolving trade policies and rapid shifts in the supply and demand of raw materials and bulk commodities are impacting traditional trade patterns. Meaning our clients are faced with a whole new range of opportunities and challenges in executing their day to day business. With the opening of our Houston office we are able to bolster the presence we have in other major oil & gas import/export and refining centres such as the Middle East and in Asia.”

The WaterFront global network currently handles more than 45,000 port calls per year through a network of 483 offices in 93 countries worldwide. Unlike other global agencies, Waterfront focuses on providing port and husbandry services for vessels transporting coal, grains, iron ore, minor bulks as well as crude oil, clean and dirty products, chemicals and gas. The company also handles the husbandry requirements of 3rd party and in-house ship managers.

WaterFront’s Director for North America, Lars Westerberg, commented:

“By focusing on specific commodities, we can work with customers operating in this region to add quantifiable value to their businesses. Our work is all about understanding our clients business and their  specific needs and then using our local knowledge and relationships to assist them to mitigate their risk, turn their vessels and cargoes around faster and save them money, while maintaining the highest levels of  safety and compliance.”

Terry Gidlow, chief executive officer of WaterFront, added:

“Lars and his team in Houston bring to the table decades of local experience and relationships in ports and terminals throughout Texas. The Regional Hub function of the Houston office also serves to give our clients in North and South America better access to our Global network.

WaterFront was established by leading regional ship agency businesses Sharaf Shipping Agencies and Ben Line Agencies in 2016. WaterFront is headquartered in Dubai with commercial offices in China, Singapore, Dubai, Norway and the USA. WaterFront has strategic partnerships in the rest of North and South America with renowned local partners such as ACGI on the west Coast of the US and Canada, UNIMAR in Brazil and the Ultramar group in Spanish-speaking South America. For more information about the organisation, visit

Gladstone Port – Planned Maintenance Notice

Planned Shutdown 23 July To 27 July 2018
Terminal: R G Tanna Coal Terminal
Plant: Shiploader No.2 on Berth No.1.
Duration: 5 days.

The main work for the Shiploader No.2 Shutdown includes:

  • Inspect and repair SL2 telescopic chute.
  • Repair oil leak on gearbox, CC7A Gladstone side.
  • Upgrade CC7A drive coupling on Gladstone and Rocky sides.
  • Install new steelwork to support replacement Transformer on SL2.
  • Abrasive blast and paint underside of SL2 MCC Room.
  • Structural repairs on SL2 Tripper upper end.
  • Cold repairs on CC6 belt.
  • Repair, abrasive blast and paint SL2 Tripper rail between CC6 and CC6A.
  • Service and calibrate CC5 belt weighers.
  • Tiling repairs in transfer chutes in SL2 system.
  • Sample Plant 1 maintenance.
  • Belt cleaner maintenance.
  • General maintenance of the Shiploader No.2 system and conveyors.

Ben Line Agencies expands its footprint in Australia

We are delighted to announce our extended coverage in Australia as we add Sydney, Gladstone, Melbourne and Adelaide to our existing presence in Brisbane.  Our commitment is to provide the customer with more choice and the same high quality service offering that they would expect of Ben Line Agencies.