Note: The following article regarding Hong Kong’s bunkering sector was first published by Manifold Times on 15 June at 3.30pm (Singapore time).
Repost: The Marine Department of Hong Kong (MARDEP) on Tuesday (15 June) issued a notice to the local shipping industry stating Covid-19 restrictions for shipping services (i.e. bunkering, reprovisioning of necessities and switching of shipping documents) have been revised with immediate effect.
The MARDEP notice, obtained by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times, referred to a letter from the Communicable Disease Branch of Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection.
The letter stated ships visiting Hong Kong purely for shipping services are now allowed under certain exemption conditions if they have not called at ports of extremely high risk places specified in ‘Group A1’ under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) during the 21 days prior to arrival.
Under the Hong Kong government, countries designated under ‘Group A1’ as places with extremely high-risk of Covid-19 are:
- The Philippines
- South Africa
According to MARDEP, vessels which have not called the ports of extremely high risk places specified in ‘Group A1’ should follow the set of health precautionary protocols (below) if there is an operational need to transfer documents between the supply barges:
(a) Only documents directly relevant to shipping or ship service operation should be transferred through a carrying basket or disposable plastic bags to / from the goods vessels concerned.
(b) Workers onboard the local supply barge and the visiting goods vessel should disinfect the carrying basket, pen and folders containing the documents every time after the basket is transferred to either the supply barge or the visiting vessel. Adequate number of towels or wipes which are wet enough by soaking in 1 in 49 diluted household bleach or 70-80% alcohol (only for surfaces which cannot tolerate bleach) should be used for disinfection. Spraying disinfectants are not recommended as this practice could be harmful and would not reduce the risk of viral transmission. A plastic bag, if used, should be disposed of immediately after it is transferred to either the supply barge or the visiting vessel.
(c) Workers handling the carrying basket or disposable plastic bags (as mentioned in (b) above) should put on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical mask, eye protection (goggles or face shield), gown and gloves. Gloves should be changed if soiled or damaged, and taken off at the end of procedure, followed by proper hand hygiene.
Other conditions such as submission of applications, precautionary measures, regular Covid-19 testing, Covid-19 vaccination, amongst others, continue to be applied for local shipping services companies.