Zika virus: Regulations for vessels calling at China and South Korea

Zika virus

Published: 18 March 2016

In response to the growing spread of the Zika virus, both China and South Korea have recently developed preventative measures and issued notices to prevent and control the Zika virus. A " Disinfection Certificate" and "The Self-Disinfection Certificate" are required in Chinese ports and Korean ports respectively for vessels arriving from the countries and territories identified as infected by Zika virus. It is recommended that members contact their local agents for more updated information prior to arriving ports in China and Korea in order to avoid any delays.

New Regulation for ships visiting China

On 2 March 2016, the Chinese Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau together with the Ministry of Transport and other six relevant authorities jointly issued "Notice on Prevention and Control of Zika Virus". This Notice takes effect from 2 March 2016 and will be valid for 12 months.

The notice provided that "3.Transportation vehicles as well as containers from ZIKA affected countries or areas shall have conducted effective mosquito eradication measures. Where there is no proof of such measures, immediate mosquito eradication will need to be performed under the supervision of the inspection and quarantine authority". The Zika affected area includes 40 countries.

The Club's correspondent in China has advised the Club that the CIQ in Chinese ports will follow the Directive to inspect the documents proving the mosquito has been eradicated and furnished when the vessel from Zika affected area arrives at the Chinese port.

The correspondent's circular is attached and the official notice in Chinese is available here.

New regulations for ships visiting South Korea

South Korea issued Zika virus guidelines that strengthened quarantine inspection requirements at Korean ports are currently in force for vessels arriving from 24 countries and territories identified as infected by Zika virus.

Vessels which have called at one of the listed countries prior to arrival in Korea within the previous 14 days are to submit the Self-Disinfection Certificate prior to arrival at a Korean port and to have an on-board quarantine inspection and to submit the Health Questionnaire (including monitoring temperature/fever) completed by the crews/passengers, and vessels which have called at one of the listed countries prior to arrival in Korea within 15 days ~ 30 days to submit the Self-Disinfection Certificate prior to arrival at Korean port and to have Ship Sanitation Control Inspection afterwards.

Important note:

  • If the Self-Disinfection Certificate is not submitted prior to arrival, the vessel will be required to carry out disinfection by a local disinfection company and the ship's movements maybe restricted
  • If the vessel comes from infected/outbreak countries as a transit, disinfection is considered to be completed by submitting the certificate dated within the 30 days prior to the date of arrival at Korean port
  • Cargo operation can be started after completion of the disinfection
  • If there is any mosquito, larvae or mosquito eggs found during the on board quarantine inspection, the vessel is to carry out disinfection by local disinfection company

Available Zika virus information and guides

On 19 February 2016, the ITF has issued an information factsheet including advice on the current outbreak of the Zika virus disease to help seafarers travelling to affected countries to avoid contracting the disease. The advice is attached.

On 8 February 2016, IMO has issued a circular to provide guidance on the Zika situation report issued by the World Health Organizaton (WHO). At present the Emergency Committee, convened by the World Health Organization's Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005), has found no justification for restrictions on travel or trade. The circular is attached.

On 5 February 2016, USCG issued an updated bulletin regarding Zika virus precautions, reflecting the changing nature of the understanding of this situation. This change advises that the virus may be spread via blood transfusions and sexual contact, in addition to mosquito bites. The bulletin is attached.

Source: World Health Organizaton (WHO)