Japan – Coronavirus Disease Update

All ports

All vessels arriving Japan ports 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 feedback 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.

Quarantine measures

All nationals arriving from the following countries are called upon to wait 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief and to refrain from using public transportation.

Asia – China, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia

Europe – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Monaco, Romania, San Marino, the United Kingdom, and Vatican

Middle East – Iran, Israel, Qatar and Bahrain

Africa – Egypt and Democratic Republic of the Congo

North America – The United States of America

Effective April 3, entry ban for all foreigners travelling from countries/areas as below. Visas issued by Japanese Embassies or Consulates located in all countries other than those listed will cease to be in effect and visa-free entry, which had been granted to citizens of the same countries, will be suspended as well.

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Isreal, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morrocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, PRC (including HKG and Macau), Qatar, Republic of Djibouti, Romania, Russia, Sao Tome Principe ,South Korea, San Marino, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, Vatican, Vietnam.

Quarantine Measures
Intensified quarantine (14 days) required for all travelers entering Japan regardless of nationalities.

Effective April 29, entry ban on travelers is updated as below. Visas issued by Japanese Embassy or Consulates located in all countries other than those listed will cease to be in effect and visa-free entry, which had been granted to citizens of the same countries, will be suspended as well.

  • Foreigners who have Chinese passports issued by Hubei or Zhejiang Province in China.
  • Foreigners who have embarked from passenger vessel “Westerdam”
  • Foreigners who have been to the following countries for the past 14 days: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, PRC (including Hong Kong and Macau), Qatar, Republic of Djibouti, Romania, Russia, South Korea, San Marino, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vatican, Vietnam.

All major ports with practical access to JP major international airports: NRT, KIX and HN-

For on signers:

If crew have a valid Seaman’s book (to identify their crew status), they might be allowed to enter Japan with following procedure:

  • In general, crew members from countries on this list (https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html) have to undergo PCR test at airport, quarantine and undergo an interview (with crew agent’s assistance) at airport immigration.
  • For onsigners who are not required to take PCR test, they can join vessel directly without 14 days quarantine as long as they don’t use public transportation (such as Domestic airplane, Bullet train, Bus, etc.). They need to be escorted to join vessel by agent’s car.
  • For onsigners who are required to take PCR test by airport Quarantine, results usually available after 1-2days (at NRT airport), 4-5hours (at HND airport) and 4-5hours to 1 day (at KIX airport), during this time, they need to stay at a Government-assigned hotel (chartered bus from airport to the hotel, hotel charge, meal charge are expected to be paid by Japanese Government, but it also subjects to the Government-contracted hotel’s vacancy). If the tests turn out to be negative, they can join vessel without 14 days isolation as long as they don’t use public transportation (such as Domestic airplane, Bullet train, Bus, etc.). They need to be escorted to join vessel by agent’s car
  • The shore pass for onsigners shall be issued by Immigration officer at the airport after the interview (with crew agent’s assistance). However there’s still possibility that the PCR test show positive result. In case one of the onsigners’ PCR test shows result as positive, he will be escorted to a designated hospital, probably by Quarantine office and all other onsigners will have to return to origins immediately, not being able to join vessel too.
  • Whether PCR test for the onsigners is requested or not completely depends on Quarantine’s decision upon their arrival at the airport. PCR test in Japan is an assigned test (conducted by Government Quarantine), not optional or commercialized check-up, hence cannot be ordered.
  • Whether onsigners can enter Japan or not still depends on airport Quarantine’s final judgement upon their arrival. However pls be ensured our team and our attending escort agent will try our very best to persuade the Immigration & Quarantine bureau’s permission, given that onsigner’s travel history has been reflected correctly and crews’ heath condition are stable.

For off signers:

  • For vessels which were at sea for 14 days after leaving previous foreign port before entering Japanese port, shore passes (landing permits) might be able to issued at first port, but only for offsigners (who possess valid Seaman’s book). In case vessel calls a foreign port, which is not target area as mentioned here (https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html), within 14 days, it might be possible to negotiate with local Immigration for offsigners’ disembarkation too. However same need to be confirmed on case by case basis.
  • They need to be escorted by agent’s car too, no public transportation (such as Domestic airplane, Bullet train, Bus, etc.) is allowed.

Regrettably at this stage, there’s still no official instruction from Japan Immigration about the fixed/confirmed procedure for crew change procedure at all Japan ports. Therefore the situation might varied among Japan areas/ports and we have no other choice than to check with the Immigration on case by case basis. Hence, in case you have any plan for a crew change at Japanese ports, please advise us flwg info as precise as possible for our efficient negotiation with the Immigration office:

  • Vessel’s name
  • Japanese port name that the crew change should take place, ETA at port
  • Charterer’s port agent contact details
  • Vessel’s port of call list for 1 month prior arrival at Japan 1st port
  • Onsigner’s nationalities, whether they have valid Seaman’s book or not

Currently, most airports in Japan is not available for international flights except Narita Airport, Haneda Airport (with very limited international flight option) & Kansai airport (KIX). Hence, it will be most convenient to arrange crew change (if permitted by Immigration) at the major Japan ports located near these 3 international airports due to the fact that all transportation should be made easier.

For the other ports that are far away from above airports, the possibility to arrange same subject to escort agent’s availability and need to be checked carefully on case by case basis.
 
Public transportation is still allowed in case they have completed 14 days self-quarantine in Japan as per Quarantine bureau’s request. But considerate the nature of crew change operation, this option seems not recommendable.

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.