Clarification of SoP for controlled crew changes

09 May 2020 / India

DGS Order No.12 of 2020 dated 12.04.2020 has been issued to provide detailed Standard Operating Procedure/Protocol for sign-on and sign-off of Indian crew at Indian ports. Para 5 (2) (4) states that “Seafarer arriving on a vessel would undergo the COVID-19 test to confirm that he/she is negative of COVID-19. After disembarking and till the time the seafarer reaches the facility for sample collection/testing to be mutually decided by the Port & State Government, within port premises, it will be ensured by the shipowner/RPS that all safety precautions as per standard health protocol are observed.”

Many ports have sought clarification on whether the entire COVID-19 sample collection/testing facility need to be arranged within the port premises or it will be sufficient to provide facility for collection of sample for COVID-19 test inside the port. Par 5 (2) (4) of the SoP for sign-off has been provided to ensure that the sample for COVID-19 test of the seafarer is collected before he is moved to a quarantine facility to wait for the report of the test. Hence, the purpose of the provision is served if the sample collection facility is provided with the port premises and the actual testing is done at a state government facility…

…Many ports have also sought clarification that after collection of samples within the port premises, the seafarer has to wait for the results at a quarantine location and inquired whether the quarantine facilities are to be located inside or outside the port premises. It is clarified that said quarantine facilities can be within or outside the port premises, as approved by local health authorities.

Ports handling sign-off from cruise vessels have inquired whether (a) collection of swabs for COVID-19 test can be arranged onboard the ship; (b) the sign-off crew can continue to stay onboard till the results of the test are received. Para 5 (2) (7) states that for the purposes of calculating 14 days quarantine period, the period spend on board from last port of call should be counted as period spent under quarantine. This is because the ship itself is disinfected and without any COVID-19 symptoms. Hence the purposes of Para 5 (2)(4) & 5 (2)(7) will be adequately satisfied if the swab is collected onboard the ship itself (within the port premises) and seafarer is allowed to wait onboard will the reports are received. It is clarified, however, that the swab should be collected for COVID-19 tests in such cases only after the seafarer has spent 14 days on board the ship from the last port of call.

All other protocols of DGS Order 12 of 2020 should be strictly followed.

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in India, contact GAC India at [email protected])

Source: Directorate General of Shipping Addendum to DGS Order No.12 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020

If quoting any content from Hot Port News, please cite GAC Hot Port News as the source.