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Shipping organisations flag-up freedom of movement restrictions in coronavirus fight

The Roundtable of shipping organisations has flagged up the potential implications on the growing number of restrictions by ports on the free movement of seafarers in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Following its recent meeting Rome the Roundtable – comprising Intertanko, Intercargo, Bimco, and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) - flagged up the impact on of measures to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus could have on the freedom of movement and ship operations.

“Whilst mitigating the dangers of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to our crews and staff are first and foremost on our minds, the impacts of precautionary restrictions on the shipping industry are becoming increasingly visible, even to the general public.” said Paolo d’Amico, who chaired the meeting.

“For shipping, as the industry responsible for the movement of the vast majority of the world’s products, raw materials and fuels, the potential implications of ports and authorities restricting free movement or shoreside support are of utmost importance.”

Yesterday saw the announcement, later cancelled, by Port Health Organisation at JNPT Sheva Navi Mumbai that all foreign vessels calling India’s largest port would face a 14-day quarantine from the last port of call. Instead vessels coming from 12 countries - China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia. Malaysia, Iran, Nepal and Italy – will be screened to see if they are “healthy”.

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Country’s such as Kuwait allow ships from coming from Mainland People’s Republic of China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR and Thailand to berth but direct contact with the crew and disembarkation is prohibited.

Wilhelmsen Ship Services has an online map of the growing number of port restrictions globally.