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 Revised procedure for crew changes in Cyprus during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

CATEGORY: SHIPPING

Revised procedure for crew changes in Cyprus during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

On 12 June 2020 the Shipping Deputy Ministry to the President of Cyprus issued the Circular 13/2020, through which informed all owners, bareboat charterers and managers of ships flying the Cyprus Flag about the replacement of its previous circular no. 12/2020, dated 14 May 2020, providing information regarding the revised procedure for conducting crew changes in a practical and effective way, in accordance with the Decree no. 28, issued by the Minister of Health and the relevant instructions of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, regarding the operation of Ports and Port Facilities as well as the related protocol for crew changes.

For the sake of consistency and clarity, according to Decree No. 28 dated 5 June 2020, issued by the Minister of Health (on the determination of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19), crew changes are possible at Cyprus ports provided certain conditions are met.

The revised procedure is as follows:

  1. For crew changes involving crew members which, in the 14 days before their arrival in Cyprus, were in countries belonging to categories A or B, or were onboard vessels which did not dock at any port, or were onboard vessels which docked only at ports of countries belonging to categories A or B, no approval is required from the Shipping Deputy Ministry. In all such cases, crew changes should be executed in accordance with all existing measures and procedures applicable to persons arriving from countries belonging to categories A and B.
  1. For crew members which meet the above criteria but are not able to perform a PCR- based covid-19 test from a certified medical center in the country of departure within 72 hours of departure with a negative result, a request should be made to the Shipping Deputy Ministry in accordance with the procedure set out in paragraph 3 below, in order to secure approval, so that a PCR-based covid-19 test is conducted upon their arrival in Cyprus.
  1. In addition to cases described in paragraph 2 above, special approval should be obtained from the Shipping Deputy Ministry for crew members and passengers of vessels or pleasure craft who do not meet the provisions set out in paragraph 1 above. Approval requests should be submitted electronically at the following email address: crewchanges@dms.gov.cy.  

All requests should include the following information:

  • Vessel Name and/ or IMO number
  • Vessel location in the Republic of Cyprus (name of port/ marina)
  • Crew members’ names (on-signers and off-signers)
  • Crew members’ flight details and original country of departure
  • Accommodation arrangements in Cyprus (if applicable)

No approval is required for crew changes between vessels (which do not involve the embarkation/ disembarkation of any crew members).

  1. In cases where charter flights are organised for the transfer of crew members and/ or passengers, additional permission is required from the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works for the execution of such flights.
  1. The above procedures should be carried out in accordance with the provisions of Decree No. 28 of the Minister of Health (on the determination of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19) as issued on 5 June 2020, as well as the provisions of the Protocol for crew changes issued by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works. 

It is of great importance to be mentioned that the relevant provisions for crew changes can be found in paragraph 2.15 of Decree No. 28, issued by the Minister of Health. Provisions for the disembarkation of crew members can be found in paragraph 2.16 of said Decree and provisions for the disembarkation from pleasure craft can be found in paragraph 2.19 of said Decree.

According to paragraph 2.15 of Decree No. 28:

The transportation and/or departure from the Republic shall be allowed as of 9 th June 2020 at 00:01 hrs until midnight 19th June of persons who are members of crews of commercial aircraft or members of crews on rigging platforms carrying out exploratory drilling within the Exclusive Economic Zones of States, with which the Republic has established diplomatic relations, or members of laid up cruise ships or members of pleasure boats, which are either docked in ports of the Republic, or are arriving by commercial flights or flights, which are allowed by exception, following a special permit by the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Determination of Measures against the Spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus) Regulations of 2020 until (No.6) of 2020, as amended or replaced for the time being under the following terms:

(i) The said persons shall be placed in a state of self-isolation 14 days prior to their arrival,

(ii) They shall undergo molecular examination for the COVID-19 disease, before their arrival, which should be negative or if this is not possible on their arrival and if the examination is positive, they shall remain in a state of compulsory isolation (quarantine) subject to the medical protocol of the Ministry of Health.

(iii) The company for which they work or/and the agent who has undertaken the change of crew, shall undertake to transfer the crew directly from the ship to the airport, while the transfer of the crews arriving by air from airport to the port of departure, under strict security measures. If there is no coordination between the arrival of the ship and the arrival of the flight, or if the results of the molecular examination are pending, the company or/and the agent shall proceed to the necessary arrangements with the Authorities for the crew to stay in designated premises, in a state of isolation, until the arrival of the flight or the ship. Where possible, the disembarking crew shall remain on the ship until the date of the flight.

Provided that, for persons who are already working as crew members on vessels anchored in Cypriot ports, which are due to depart from the Republic, only sub-paragraph (iii) shall apply.

According to paragraph 2.16 of Decree No. 28:

The transfer and stay shall be allowed in the Republic as of 9th June 2020 at 00:01hrs until midnight 19th June 2020, of sailors and members of ship crews, who arrive on board vessels anchored in the ports of the Republic, under the following terms:

(a) For vessels arriving in the Republic from countries of Categories A and B, and provided that in the previous 14 days they have not called at a port of any country not belonging to the above categories, the sailors and crew members shall furnish a negative certificate of molecular examination for the COVID-19 disease, valid 72 hours prior to the departure of the vessel or such persons shall undergo molecular testing at the place of anchorage and they shall remain on board the vessel until the result is issued.

(b) For vessels arriving at the Republic from countries not belonging to Categories A and B, the sailors and crew members thereof must: (i)have completed 14 days in self-isolation and filled out a particular form issued by the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Works, as part of the protocol for change of crews. (ii)submit to a molecular examination for the COVID-19 disease upon disembarkation. (iii)these persons shall remain on the boat or in places of compulsory isolation (quarantine) until the result of the examination is issued.

(c) If the persons referred to in sections (a) and (b) above are positively diagnosed for the COVID-19 disease, they shall remain in a state of compulsory isolation (quarantine) subject to the medical protocol of the Ministry of Health.

(d) The procedures provided in Regulation 2.15(iii) are followed proportionally for the conduct of the molecular examinations, the transfer procedure and the isolation, until the issuing of the results for the examination of said persons.

 According to paragraph 2.19 of Decree No. 28:

With the exclusion of paragraphs 2.15 and 2.16 above, concerning the sailors and crew members, the following apply for persons lawfully entering the Republic from legal points of entry by sea:

(i) For pleasure boats arriving in the Republic from countries of Categories A and B, the passengers shall present a negative certificate of molecular examination for the COVID-19 disease, valid 72 hours prior to the departure of the boat or the said persons are given a molecular testing at the docking berth and in such case remain on the boat until the result is issued.

(ii) The passengers of pleasure boats which arrive from countries not falling under categories A and B and 14 days prior to their arrival they have not docked at any other port or they have docked only in the ports of countries that belong to categories A and B, shall be given a molecular test for the COVID-19 disease upon their arrival at the place of anchorage and remain on board until the result is issued.

(iii) The persons of categories (i) and (ii) who arrive in the Republic and are positively diagnosed for the COVID-19 disease, shall remain in a state of compulsory isolation (quarantine) subject to the medical protocol of the Ministry of Health. Provided that the administrators of the legal points of entry by sea shall ensure that the passengers will comply with all of the above.

  1. Crew members entering the Republic of Cyprus through the airports of the Republic of Cyprus can apply for granting of a "CyprusFlightPass", at the official web electronic platform of the Republic of Cyprus (https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/). By selecting, through the online platform, in Section 41 of the form “Passenger Locator", the following category of passengers: "Persons, regardless of nationality, having a special permission by the Republic of Cyprus", and stating thereafter whether or not they will perform a Covid-19 test upon their entry into the Republic of Cyprus, the "CyprusFlightPass" will be granted. Said pass must be presented to the airlines, so that the crew members will be allowed to board the aircraft. Crew members who will be doing the Covid-19 test upon entry into the Republic of Cyprus will need to pay the relevant cost of 60 euros. In the case where the web electronic platform of the Republic of Cyprus is temporarily unavailable due to technical issues or scheduled maintenance, persons travelling to Cyprus will be able to complete the required forms manually. These forms can be downloaded from the above web electronic platform.

 Countries which have been classified in Categories A and B

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus announced on 12 June 2020 the classification of countries which have been classified in Categories A and B, based on the epidemiological risk assessment undertaken by the Infectious Diseases Epidemiological Monitoring and Control Unit (IDEM&CU) on 10/6/2020.

The countries are the following:

Countries in Category A

  1. Malta
  2. Greece
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Norway
  5. Austria
  6. Finland
  7. Slovenia
  8. Hungary
  9. Denmark
  10. Germany
  11. Slovakia
  12. Lithuania
  13. Croatia
  14. Estonia
  15. Czech Republic
  16. Switzerland
  17. Latvia
  18. Luxembourg

Countries in Category B

  1. Israel
  2. Poland
  3. Romania

 Author: Zacharias L. Kapsis

 

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