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Crew Change Crisis

China to reopen 10 ports for international crew change

Photo: Lee Hong Liang 20141119_190637.jpg
China is set to allow 10 ports to resume foreign crew change operations with a new ‘circuit breaker’ mechanism to be implemented, according to an update by Bimco.

Seven Chinese government bodies including Ministry of Transportation (MOT) have announced the move last week, taking into account the current coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.

The 10 ports to allow for foreign crew change are Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningo, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Haikou.

All shipping companies will have to comply with a set of requirements for foreign crew signing off, including having the basic documentations of valid departing tickets and a clean slate of health and quarantine records for the crew.

The ship in question must have left the last foreign port in more than 14 days, and the shipping company is required to rent a car to transfer the foreign crew from the disembarking point to the outbound gate point directly within the same city, or to embark another outbound ship upon disembarking.

“The said notice introduces a quarantine circuit-breaker mechanism. It operates in the following manner: a shipping company’s foreign crew change operations will be suspended for 15 days if there were five tested positive cases detected in their ship aggregate; or suspended for 30 days if there was found 10 tested positive cases in their ship aggregate. More than 10 tested positive cases found, the shipping company will not be allowed to operate until they pass a fresh assessment conducted by the relevant authorities,” Bimco stated.

It is Bimco’s understanding that the various Chinese ports may take different pragmatic approaches when dealing with the foreign crew change. In practice, the final say lies ultimately with the local port government (the city's leading group office of epidemic prevention and control) instead of the MOT in Beijing,” Bimco said.

Bimco recommends that members planning to have crew change conducted in China to consult their local agents for the latest requirements implemented by the port in question.