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China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – Coronavirus Disease Update

China

The restriction concerning the residents, visitors and crew from Hubei or stayed in Hubei in last 14 days are prohibited to go on board all vessels have been lifted. 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 shg.ops@benline.com.cn prior vessel’s arrival.

China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement effective 0am, 28 March 2020.

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.

Fuzhou

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, and until further notice:

  • 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.

With effect on June 01, 2020 0001Hrs LT, air transit/transfer services at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) have resumed. Travellers can use HKIA for transit/transfer (i.e. flight transfers at airside only) on flights operated by different airlines under the same air ticket, provided that the travellers have checked through at the origin port with their boarding passes printed and baggage tagged-through to the final destination. Travellers should also confirm in advance that they are able to enter the final destination. However, the airside transit/transfer services at HKIA to and from all Mainland China destinations are currently not available. Airside transit/transfer MUST be within 24 hours.

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, and until further notice: 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

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.

The Hong Kong government announced that the current crew changes policy will be tightened with effect July 29. Please note the following:

  • w.e.f 29/7 0001lt, vessels calling Hong Kong without cargo operations are not allowed to carry out crew changes.
  • w.e.f 29/7 0001lt, vessels calling Hong Kong without cargo operations (i.e. including those for bunkering, supplies, repairs, S+P Delivery etc), all crew onboard are required to carry out 14 days quarantine in port prior vsl’s departure.
  • w.e.f. 29/07 0001lt, vsls calling Hong Kong for cargo operations may apply for crew changes. In addition to the current PCR test certification requirement, 72 hours pre-arrival application (with crew changes details) is required for pre-approval from port authority. Point to point transfer between airport/vsl or vice versa is required, no hotel accommodation allowed. Other restrictions apply as per attached announcement.

Note that the port authority basically defines “Cargo Operations” as a cargo vessel and with full cargo manifest, Shipping Order (SO) and Bill of Lading, etc as supporting. Handling of ship’s spare parts does not construe as “cargo operations”.

Based on the above, crew change for vessels calling Hong Kong with cargo operations will need to comply with the following:

  • shipping companies/agents shall submit the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) of vessel together with the details of the sign-on and sign-off crew to be changed (including their names and flight schedules) 72 hours prior arrival of the vessel for the Marine Department (MarDep)’s approval;
  • In-coming (Sign-on) crew members should only arrive Hong Kong when their vessels are berthed in Hong Kong and should get onboard immediately upon arrival;
  • Out-going (Sign-off) crew members who have completed their service on-board should stay onboard the vessel during their stay in HongKong and travel directly to the airport for repatriation totheir home countries. Vessel is NOT allowed to sail until all offsigners flight have departed Hong Kong.

Taiwan

According to Article 9 of the “Regulations Governing Quarantine at Ports”, the master should report all information. Article 9 states that inbound ships entering international port from other countries (boundaries) shall within 4 to 72 hours, report the following by their shipmaster to the quarantine authorities:

  1. Name of ship, call sign and voyage number;
  2. The last port of departure, date and time;
  3. Name of port anchored during the 30 days prior to arrival and the date of departure;
  4. Expected date and time of arrival;
  5. Types of Sanitary Control Certificate for ship, issued date and place;
  6. Number of crew and passengers;
  7. Any deaths or patients with communicable diseases on board within 30 days prior to arrival and their relevant information;
  8. Any deaths from unknown causes within 30 days prior to arrival;
  9. Any breeding of rats or vectors;
  10. Other relevant matters.

When sailing time of this voyage is less than 4 hours, upon approval of the quarantine authority, it may complete reporting prior to voyage. If death occurs or patients with communicable disease detected after reporting, it should immediately be reported to the relevant information to the quarantine authority such as the number of infections or deaths, their names, symptoms or causes of deaths. Upon reviewing of reports mentioned in the preceding first three paragraphs, if the quarantine authority decides that the ship in question is in no danger of transmitting communicable diseases, entry permit will be granted.

Before the pilot boards the ship, both the passage and bridge that the pilot may pass through should be Complete disinfection, maintain ventilation and strictly control the number of people on the bridge, all Crew members who may be in contact with pilots should wear masks and crew are unwell should be isolated to avoid contact with pilots.

Master should fill in the self-management form as a verification certificate for inspection (form attached).

Failure to implement the epidemic prevention actions in accordance with the above matters, Pilot may follow the Article 30 of Pilotage Law, refused to lead the vessel to avoid causing a breach of epidemic prevention in ports.

If the pilot has embarked on the vessel and found that the vessel has not implemented anti-epidemic actions in accordance with the mentioned regulations, the pilot will immediately leave. All cost such as, pilotage fee, pilot boat fee, tugs fee and etc., will be borne by shipowner.

Crew Changes

  • Crew Changes are NOT allowed, except Taiwan flagged vessels, foreign vessels belonging to Taiwan shipping Corporation, ship delivery conducted (excluding China flagged vessels) and in emergency situations or if special permit is issued.
  • Crew shore leave is NOT allowed. Crew are strictly not permitted to go to quayside and MUST remain onboard vessel at all times.
  • Visa-Exemption Entry have been suspended until further notice.
  • All persons entering Taiwan must undergo 14 days home quarantine. Subject to additional extension. Fine for breaking quarantine up to NTD1’000’000.
  • All personnel, including crew, must have their temperatures taken two times per day prior to arriving in Taiwan. All body temperature must be submitted to Quarantine prior arrival to Taiwan and whilst alongside in Taiwan port.

Port Restrictions

  • From 6th February 2020, cruise vessels are not permitted to enter Taiwan ports or anchorage until further notice.
  • Foreign flagged vessels under a work permit – All foreign flagged vessels entering to Taiwan from overseas are permitted to call a Taiwan port. Requirement for vessels to be quarantine for 30 days is lifted. But all crews must be quarantine on shore for 14 days before allowing the vessels and crews to proceed to jobsite (offshore)
  • All other port and cargo operations as per normal condition.

Port Closures & Delays
Port Closures: No
Expect Delays: No

Effective July 4:

Only offshore windfarm vessel shall be applied by developer with authority Bureau of Energy (BOE) for the final approval for crew changes. Only when vessels alongside, then signing on/off can be performed, all sign on/ off crewmember must undergo 14 days quarantine.

Crew Changes for Offshore Wind Farm Only

Taiwan authorities allow for crew change for personnel signing on / off a foreign flagged vessel as crew in Taiwan. Wind Farm Developers must submit the necessary documentation to Bureau of Energy (BOE). BOE will then review and accept/reject submission. If submission is accepted then BOE will issue a Certificate of business contract performance. This document is required for all crew changes. Our operations team can support clients with a quarantine plan (as required for issue of certificate). Please contact directly with wind-tw.ops@benlineagencies.com for complete and detailed process.    

Travelers who have received permission to enter Taiwan, when checking in with the airline for the flight to Taiwan, must present an English-language certificate of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within three days of boarding and they must also undergo a 14-day home quarantine upon entry into the country.

Xiamen

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.