In response to a rising number of enquiries from members, BIMCO is constantly updating its website with contractual and practical advice regarding the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The current outbreak of coronavirus started in Wuhan, Hubei province in China. Since the initial reports were published by the WHO in late December 2019, BIMCO has monitored the situation and tracked how it spreads. Due to rising concerns, BIMCO is receiving many enquiries from members asking about the impact that the Coronavirus outbreak could have on sea transport, in particular to ships and crew that have sailed to or departed from Chinese ports, or from members considering calling at ports in China.
Not being aware of a ship’s crew composition, their travel history or how contracts deal with delays arising from infectious or contagious diseases, could cause serious ramifications in terms of staggering expenses chalking up or causing disputes.
To assist members, BIMCO has since 23 January been providing daily updates on implementation measures taken by port states and port authorities around the world. The information is provided to BIMCO via the organization’s extensive network of agencies and brokers.
The information gathered seems to point in the direction that the further away a port is from China, the less restrictive are the precautionary measures imposed. In general, ports and coastal states require a declaration on any of the following:
· Declaration on health
· Temperature measurements
· Information on sick or deceased crew or passengers
· Information on previous port calls
· Information on crew or passengers’ travel history – i.e. if they have been in China within the previous 14 days as a minimum
The consequences depend very much on the port state. It ranges from quarantine of individual crew members or passengers to quarantine of the ship until the expected incubation period of 14 days has passed.
In addition, to practical advice, BIMCO has published “Infectious or Contagious Diseases Clauses” for time and voyage charter parties that are freely available to the industry and can be downloaded from the BIMCO website:
BIMCO Infectious or Contagious Diseases Clause for Time Charter Parties 2015
BIMCO Infectious or Contagious Diseases Clause for Voyage Charter Parties 2015
To view general advice and update information about the virus, please go to the Novel coronavirus section on BIMCO.org. For daily updates, members are also welcome to reach out to Maritime Information at BIMCO.