General advice/information on the Australian Government response virus can be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
We recommend ships owners/managers/agents familiarize themselves with these guidelines.
Across Australia, Australian Border Force “ABF” require that all vessels from ports overseas, be at sea for at least 14 days before arriving at Australia. Any vessels which arrive in Australian ports before that 14 day period has been completed will be ordered to wait at anchorage. Pilotage will be delayed until completion of the 14 day period.
In addition to ABF’s 14 day limitation; individual port and maritime safety authorities have extra regulations in place to protect port infrastructure & personnel. Although these regulations may vary in each port, generally the following applies throughout the coutnry:
- Vessels should ensure pre-arrival reporting to port authorities is undertaken at least 12 hours before arrival, in order to allow for Coronavirus risk assessment to take place.
- Ships agents may not attend on board, and will carry out their procedures from the wharf.
- Stevedores, Bio-Security Personnel and other parties may wear protective gear and minimize physical contact with crew.
- Crew may not be permitted to disembark the vessel
We urge all vessels arriving from overseas to be extra vigilant and if in doubt, consult with local agents at the earliest opportunity for guidance on regulations in place in each port.
Crew Changes in Australia are permissible under the following circumstances:
- Crew off-signing from the vessel and departing Australia are permitted to do so, however crew must proceed directly to the airport and depart; or they must self-isolate at their accommodation until the time they proceed to the airport
- Crew off-signing to join another vessel are permitted to do so, but must self-isolate at their accommodation for the remainder of the 14-day self-isolation period or until signing on to the next vessel.
- Crew whom are Australian permanent residents can travel to their home and complete self-isolation there.
Intra-state travel restrictions are currently in place around the country. Crew should also check any domestic isolation requirements and exemptions with the relevant state or territory health authority if transiting domestically.
Australia continues to provide medical assistance to seafarers in medical distress, and will medevac seafarers if possible, so long as vessel is in Australian territorial waters.
As there are fewer private helicopter/launch operators running at this time, vessels with a medical emergency are advised to contact Australia’s Joint Rescue Coordination Committee “JRCC” by calling +61 2 6230 6811 and requesting a medevac. If JRCC can dispatch a medevac to the vessel, the seafarer in distress will be taken to the nearest emergency medical centre for treatment.
Note that seafarers disembarking for urgent medical assistance will be required to complete an additional 14 day quarantine period on arrival.