Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Following the declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 30 January 2020 due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China, a number of countries have implemented various measures to reduce the exposure and transmission of the virus to their citizens. This also has an impact on shipping.
The current situation in China
After the extended Chinese New Year holidays, all Chinese ports remain open and fully operational, except for the river port of Wuhan which is closed.
Due to local travel restrictions there may be port congestions and other challenges, for example getting a local surveyor to more remote ports. Members are accordingly requested to advise our claims handlers of any planned or needed survey in China as soon as possible. This will allow our claims handlers to assist in the best possible way. Whilst Skuld maintains a constant dialogue with local club correspondents, members are encouraged to also liaise closely with local agents well before arrival. This is especially important to ensure that members' vessels are in strict compliance with requirements implemented by local authorities to prevent the infection from spreading. For information we enclose updates from local correspondents Messrs. Huatai as well as from Oasis P&I Services.
The current situation outside China
In respect of vessels arriving from Chinese ports or with Chinese crew and/or passengers on board, some countries, such as Australia, New Zealand or Singapore, have implemented a strict 14 days quarantine period for crew or passengers arriving out of mainland China (not just the Hubei Province).
Other countries have implemented a mandatory screening of crew or passengers before they are allowed to disembark and a strict declaration of anyone on board who is suspected to have contracted the novel coronavirus. Members should stay in close contact with local agents about any requirements imposed by local authorities, as those can change quickly.
Skuld maintains its advice to members to implement a high hygienic standard and raised awareness to reduce the risk for catching the virus. The WHO has published useful guidance in this regard.
Skuld also recommends to its members to get in touch with their claims handlers who can provide them with information tailored to their trade. Skuld also recommends to its members to get in touch with their claims handlers for any questions or concerns which might arise regarding charterparties.