Japan – Coronavirus Disease Update

All ports

All crew and passengers on vessels coming from China ports (including Hong Kong and Macau) will be required to submit a health questionnaire. This report should be accomplished by the vessel captain and submitted to the relevant quarantine officer before arriving at any Japanese port.

This needs to be submitted to immigration during their working hours, prior ship arrival. To ensure prompt checking and feed-back from the Authorities, Master needs to provide this at least 36 hours in advance. In case vessel is due to arrive during a weekend or Monday, the health questionnaire must be submitted latest by Friday AM JPLT.

For crew change, the following are not permitted to enter Japan for the time being unless there are exceptional circumstances:

  • Foreigners who have travelled to Hubei Province in the People’s Republic of China within 14 days before arriving Japan.
  • Foreigners who have Chinese passports issued by Hubei Province in the People’s Republic of China


All crew and passengers coming from China will be quarantined for 10 days. For crew and passengers coming from other countries, they must certify that they have not been to China within 10 days before arrival, including flight transit. If they have been to China, quarantine measures will be implemented.


All crew and passengers embarking or disembarking from vessels have to confirm whether they have visited or transited at Hubei between January 17th to 31st. If affirmative, quarantine measures will be implemented.

According to Tokyo Quarantine Office, an additional quarantine requirement – the health questionnaire – now applies to crew members on cargo ships, as well as passenger ships, coming from China ports including Hong Kong and Macau. This questionnaire needs to be filled in by the vessel captain and submitted to a quarantine office before arriving at any Japan ports. This procedure is already implemented by Tokyo Quarantine Office and expect it to be applied in other ports nationwide shortly. This needs to be submitted to immigration during their working hours, prior ship arrival. To ensure prompt checking and feed-back from the Authorities, Master needs to provide this at least 36 hours in advance. In case vessel is due to arrive during a weekend or Monday, the health questionnaire must be submitted latest by Friday AM JPLT.

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 www.waterfront-ms.com

Ben Line Agencies Japan assists in rescue operation of Chinese Fisherman in the Pacific Ocean

On Friday 18th May, an emergency request call came in to the Ben Line Agencies Japan (BLAJ) Operations team through Japan Fisheries Association asking for all necessary assistances to rescue an injured crew from a Chinese fishing boat which was operating 220 miles SSE of Kushiro, Hokkaido. The 29-year old crew member was hit by a jumped anchor rope and was in a coma.

The BLAJ Operations team immediately contacted the 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters of Japan Coast Guard to rescue the injured crew by Japan Coast Guard (JCG) helicopter.

A helicopter was scrambled to rescue the crew from the fishing boat and successfully lifted him at 15:30LT in the Pacific Ocean. After a quick replenishment of fuel on board a JCG patrol ship, the helicopter landed at Kushiro at 18:00LT and the injured crew arrived at a hospital at 18:30LT. All C.I.Q. formalities have been arranged in Kushiro.

After medical treatment, the fisherman was discharged from hospital on Thursday 24th May together with 2 BLAJ staff members, including a native Chinese speaker, who had flown from Tokyo to Hokkaido to escort him up until his repatriation to Shanghai on 25th May.

This was the 6th emergency rescue operation since the beginning of 2017 where BLAJ has successfully executed agency tasks of this kind.

BLAJ and the Ben Line Agencies group considers the wellbeing and safety of all fishermen and its duty as agents to provide all the necessary assistance where personnel and vessels encounter challenging and hazardous conditions whilst at sea.

Meanwhile, BLAJ received a special appreciation letter from the Chinese principal on Monday 4th June.