CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19 NOTICE TO P&I Clubs, Members and the Insurance Market
The world shifted from what was generally viewed as “normal”, irrespective of how broadly the definition was used, to being extremely troubled and full of uncertainties in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of 8 April 2020 there are 4761 cases of COVID-19 infections in Romania and 215 attributable deaths which by comparison to the hardship of other countries might not appear as significant.
We are however still in an incipient stage, estimates by local health authorities being that by the end of April, 2020 the number of infections will increase exponentially.
Authorities in Romania are attempting to limit the increasing number of infections by way of a presidential decree on a state of emergency effective as of 16 March 2020 to 16 April 2020 to be extended by at least one month and seven military ordinances, inter alia, placing all individuals under lockdown, under certain conditions.
Of immediate relevance is that for the time being all Romanian Black Sea and Danube River Ports are open and that authorities would bind any vessel to a 14 day quarantine period.
Vessels are allowed to berth and crewmembers are subject to an epidemiological triage and temperature readings by public health inspectors. Provided no health concerns are reported the vessel is granted free pratique and may commence loading / discharging operations as usual. A limited number of representatives of port authorities along with operators are allowed on board at any time and under certain conditions i.e. wearing of full protective equipment by both crewmembers and local individuals, interactions are to take place in the open spaces of the vessel with individuals maintaining a distance of two meters apart. During the quarantine period crewmembers are not allowed to disembark and are bound to take regular temperature readings and report to port health authorities via agents any anomalies. Following passing of 14 days restrictions are lifted. Pilots may board the vessel at any time as necessary and only by wearing full protective equipment to assist in vessel’s maneuvers.
While indeed the legal text states that 14 days begin running as from vessel’s sailing out of the last port situated in a risk zone, in practice we have encountered situations where 14 days began running as from date of vessel’s call / arrival at Romanian ports. We would thus suggest that due caution is exercised on how authorities or other decisive factors in law or in fact would view running of 14 days in each particular case and to be prepared for the ampler interval i.e. running as from vessel’s arrival.
Declaring a state of emergency also brings forth a stay on running of time bars and procedural deadlines and we would further explain the relevance of this on a case by case basis.
Our staff are on call as usual and our offices are up and running remotely or on the ground while observing restrictions imposed by way of the military ordinances and taking the necessary precautions for our and everybody’s safety and wellbeing. Principals and Shipowners are strongly encouraged to contact us through the usual channels and use our afterhours telephone details during this period specifically indicated in our “Contacts” page.
We would also recommend that particular attention is given to the IMO Circular dated 27 March 2020 on the preliminary list of recommendations for Governments and relevant national authorities on the facilitation of maritime trade during the COVID-19 pandemic, strongly supported by The International Group of P&I Clubs, and which can be accessed here.
We will be updating this page on a regular basis and in the interim are taking the opportunity to wish Principals, Shipowners, fellow Correspondents and the Market the best of health and to stay safe.