China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – Coronavirus Disease Update


All ports have announced that both residents, visitors and crews from Hubei or stayed in Hubei in last 14 days are prohibited to go on board all vessels. Incoming visitors, and crew to be temperature screened before entering the city or port.

All passengers / crew should fill the Health Declaration form, both at the time of entry and departure in declaring their health situation. Symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty to breath must be reported to a customs officer then a mask must be used to avoid further spreading the virus. All passenger and crew entering China must provide recent travel history.

As per the recent port guidance, the Original Health Declaration form to be filled by all crew on board must be submitted before vessel’s departure. Due to the block of regular land transportation between cities, river port pilots (from Nanjing to Taicang within Yangtze River) will go onboard by using tug boat with higher charge incurred.

Shippers / receivers must arrange the required customs formalities for their cargo promptly. Due to the irregular working hours of customs, there may be delay in completion of formalities which will result with the delay in berthing. All offices in China were closed until 2400lt / 9th February 2020 as per Chinese Government announcement.

In the meantime, we recommend ship side as below and actual requirements may vary in different ports:

  • Masters are required to send their daily temperature list of all crew on board to agent 7 days before vessel’s arrival.
  • The updated temperature list must be submitted to the customs officer upon vessel arrival and before ship’s departure.
  • Crew will be quarantined and hospitalized if found to have symptoms of fever or cough or difficulty in breathing.
  • The shore pass will not be issued unless identified as necessary.
  • The issuance of boarding pass for shore side people to be onboard will be tightly restricted based on actual requirement.
  • Ship side is required to measure body temperature of all visitors and port officials on board and reserve the right to reject any individual with symptoms of fever or cough.
  • Crew change will be prohibited in most Chinese ports and you may check with prior vessel’s arrival.

South China Ports

Crew change formalities are suspended.

Beihai, Qinzhou

Crew change not suggested in these 2 ports as joiners arriving from other cities or countries may need to be segregated for 14 days and presently there are many flight / train cancellations.

Chiwan, Dongguan, Fangcheng, Guangzhou, Shekou, Xiamen, Yantian

Crew change allowed but Xiamen and Yantian have strict & complicated requirements. Guangzhou, Dongguan, Fangcheng are allowed but not suggested.


Crew change formalities have already been suspended by local customs due to coronavirus pneumonia till further notice.

Hong Kong

Restriction from Entering Hong Kong
The Hong Kong SAR Government restricts non-Hong Kong residents who have visited the Hubei Province in the past 14 days upon arrival from entering Hong Kong since January 27, 2020.

With effect from March 25, 2020 0001Hrs LT, tentatively for 14 days:

  • All non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas country and other regions by plane will be denied entry to Hong Kong
  • Non-Hong Kong residents coming from the Mainland, Macau and Taiwan will be denied entry to Hong Kong if they have been to any overseas countries and regions in the past 14 days.
  • All transit services (flight transfers at airside) at Hong Kong International Airport will be suspended;

Compulsory Quarantine
Starting from February 8, 2020, the Department of Health (DH) will issue quarantine orders to all people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland, including Hong Kong residents, Mainland residents and visitors from other places. People concerned must stay at designated places (quarantine centre, home or other accommodation) for a 14-day compulsory quarantine. Apart from the exempted persons under the “Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation”, people who have been to the Mainland in the past 14 days upon arrival at Hong Kong, even if they enter Hong Kong via other places, are also covered. They should not have any symptoms and should have passed temperature checks upon entry. Those with symptoms will be referred to the DH for further handling. Arrivals holding a visa with validity of less than 14 days will be denied entry.

With effect from March 25, 2020 0001Hrs LT, tentatively for 14 days: All travellers coming from Macau and Taiwan, including Hong Kong and non-Hong Kong residents, will be subject to a 14-day compulsory quarantine, which is the same as the arrangements for people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland.

Cargo Ships calling to Hong Kong
Hong Kong port is normal at this moment. All port formalities for vessel arrival and departure are normal. Vessels arriving from China or South Korea ports are not affected.

Vessels calling for cargo operations, bunker supply, replenishment, Fresh Water supply, spare parts/cargoes import and export services are all normal.

Local supply of facemask still quite tight.

The Department of Health requires all crew members on board cargo vessel entering Hong Kong to arrange “medical surveillance” during their stay in Hong Kong (except crew individuals who visited Hubei Province, China in the past 14 days). “Medical surveillance” refer to the following:

  • Wear a surgical mask during work and if need to go out
  • Pay attention to your health condition, and take body temperature daily. If you feel unwell, please inform your agent or call Department of Health at 852-2125 1999 or 2125 1122.
  • Agree to be interviewed by Department of health regarding your health condition.

Crew Changes for cargo vessel
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for passenger + cargo arrival and departure also in normal. HKIA now undergo additional body temperature checking for all passengers and passengers are advised to allow sufficient time for relevant procedure.

With effect from March 8, 2020, all inbound travelers via Hong Kong International Airport are required to submit health declaration form. To be environmentally  friendly, travelers are encouraged to submit the form online ( or continue to submit the paper form which can be obtained on board their flight.

With effect from March 25, 2020 0001Hrs LT, tentatively for 14 days, all transit services (flight transfers at airside) at Hong Kong International Airport will be suspended.

For onsigners (i.e. those holding both valid seaman books and passports, except those from China or those who have been to China in past 14 days), with effect from March 25, 2020 0001Hrs LT, signing on is arrangeable WITHOUT compulsory quarantine, subject to the following :

  • Hong Kong Immigration normal Visa Control requirement
  • Onsigner(s) has valid Passport and Seaman Book
  • Onsigner(s) holding copy of OKTB letter
  • Onsigner(s) not coming from China and/or has not been to China in the last 14 days
  • Onsigner(s) should not have any symptoms of being affected and passed temperature checks upon entry

Subject to change without prior notice and eventual grant for entry purely on Immigration/Port Health discretion

For offsigner(s), according to latest information from Immigration Department (subject to change without prior notice and purely on their discretion), those under seaman status (i.e. those holding both valid seaman books and passports) are NOT affected and may still apply for signing off (except those born/resided in Hubei or Hubei related or those Individuals who visited Hubei Province in the past 14 days, will be rejected)

Passengers arriving with vessels (except those born/resided in Hubei or Hubei related or had been to Hubei Province in past 14 days, will be rejected) will require compulsory quarantine for 14 days on board and vessel will not be allowed to sail until 14 days compulsory quarantine period is completed.

For Supernumerary arriving with vessels (except those born/resided in Hubei or Hubei related or had been to Hubei Province in past 14 days) to be subject to ‘medical surveillance’ on board during vessel stay in Hong Kong. Their signing off at Hong Kong will not be granted and require to sail with the vessel.

As the situation changes from time to time, pls contact us at for updates in case of any enquiries or requirements.


With effect on February 16, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that a community monitoring program will be strengthened with specific target in the following link

Those who have a history of travel (including transit) to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and show symptoms through infared scanning or health declaration will be sent to the hospital for tests. Individual will be isolated while waiting for release of test results. Asymptomatic individuals will be allowed to enter.

Effective February 25, CECC foreign nationals entering Taiwan from South Korea (excluding passengers who transit through South Korea) must undergo a 14-day period of home quarantine. From February 25 until the end of February 26, Taiwanese nationals entering from South Korea must undergo a 14-day period of self-health management. Beginning February 27, Taiwanese nationals entering Taiwan from South Korea must undergo a 14-day period of home quarantine. Details are available here–MLOA?typeid=158

Effective 0000H February 28, all passengers entering Taiwan (except for transit) from Italy need to undergo 14-day home quarantine. Details are available here

Effective March 2, individuals who have traveled to Iran must comply with 14 day home quarantine before entering Taiwan.

In Taichung, visitors who want to attend vessel, especially the vessel has been berthed in infected area, to meet their families on board need to offer the purpose of entry and all documents concerned for their approval on applying for temporary entry permit.

Starting 2 pm of March 14, travelers from 27 European countries or Dubai are required to practice a 14-day home quarantine after entering Taiwan. Pls link to  for details.

CECC raises travel notice for Egypt to Level 2: Alert; travelers advised to take enhanced precautions.

CECC raises travel notice for 42 countries and one territory in Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, and Northern Africa to Level 3: Warning; CECC advises against all nonessential travel. Details are available here.

Travelers arriving from Europe through March 5-14 advised to notify local district offices of their travel history; restrictions on entry of foreign nationals to be implemented; arriving travelers to be subject to home quarantine upon entry.

CECC raises travel notice for the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, including transit flights, to Level 3: Warning; advises against all nonessential travel to these countries.

As per The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), latest regulation duo to COVID-19 outbreak condition worsen with immediate effect all shore passes become invalid (issued before 00:00, 19/Mar/2020) and port police will enhance patrol to ensure no crew at shore. Furthermore, unless deemed as emergency medical treatment situation by the Immigration, shore passes will no longer be issued from this point on, 19/Mar/2020 (except Taiwanese crews).

CECC raises travel notice for all countries to Level 3: Warning; advises against all nonessential travel.

Automatic 30-day extension for foreigners entering Taiwan on or before March 21 with visa waiver, visitor visa, or landing visa (no application is required) (overstayers excepted). for details. For offshore wind farm working vessels to enter Taiwan port for the first time from abroad, Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) must verify whether the vessel has called an epidemic warning level 3 country or region within 14 days. If she has visited, the crew members must be quarantined for 14 days, if they are in normal condition they can go to wind farm after quarantine period.

Taiwan to ban airline passenger transits through the country starting March 24 until April 7.

All wind-farm vessels are to be quarantined for 14 days before proceeding to offshore field for work if last port call from red code (level 3: warning) country/port.


According to the XIAMEN NOTICE NO.8, every person entering Xiamen should register and declare their health conditions in advance using the “i XIAMEN” WeChat Subscription. All crew signing on at Xiamen port should implement the same and keep contact with the terminal as well as to cooperate the terminal with basic body and mask wearing checks.

Compulsory pilotage for transit Hong Kong Waters to/from YICT and Dapeng LNG Terminals

With effect on 1 January 2020, compulsory pilotage will be required for vessels (dry cargo/passenger vessels over 3000 GT, tankers over 1000 GT) transiting east of Hong Kong waters to and from the area of Yantian Container Terminals and Dapeng LNG Terminals. New pilot stations and channel have been established which is shown on the above map (B.A. Chart number: 4128)

More details are available at the links below.

Further information on transit arrangements, pilot guideline, requirements and calculation of costs will be advised as and when announced by parties concerned.

Ben Line Agencies Hong Kong office is pleased to attend and assist in arranging the transits whenever required. Please send an email to for further information and assistance.

Click to view the map

Hong Kong waives port & lights dues for 12 months

The Government of Hong Kong SAR announced a waiver on various fees and charges to support businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, during this challenging economic environment.

One of the measures is to waive port facilities and light dues payable for oceangoing vessels for 12 months. The concession period is from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

Announcement from Marine Department

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