Website updated - These notes must be read together with the NATIONAL FEDERAL RULES.
State and territory rules apply in addition to National Federal rules and must be complied with for ports within that state or territory.
Local ports may also have additional rules/requirements of their own.
Page last updated: 07 August 2020
Efforts to reduce the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Victoria have not succeeded. The Victorian Government has imposed an extensive lockdown throughout the State on its population and on economic activity. A particularly severe lockdown has been imposed on the city of Melbourne.
Further details can be found here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19
Page last updated: 16 July 2020
Earlier this month an extensive outbreak of COVID-19 in the Australian state of Victoria has caused the authorities to impose a wide range of restrictions. An outbreak is also now (as of 16 July 2020) underway in Sydney.
Travel plans of commercial mariners planning to arrive by air or by sea may be affected. Non-Australia residents who are maritime-industry participants may also want to take note of the following non-exhaustive list of restrictions:
- the city of Melbourne (and part of the state outside the city) is in extreme lock down until 11:59pm on Wednesday 19 August 2020. Persons are not allowed out of their residences except for certain essential reasons.
- roadblocks have been set up around the city
- international flights, which includes transit flights, have been re-directed away from Melbourne and this will last at least until August 8 2020.
- In theory, the border of Victoria is open and people can cross from elsewhere into Victoria and, again in theory, there are no Victorian restrictions on leaving the State
- international flights, including transit flights, are not calling in Melbourne
- other Australian States / Territories have imposed restrictions on travel from Victoria
- the Australian Capital Territory requires people travelling from Victoria to quarantine for 14 days
- New South Wales has imposed restrictions although there is an exemption for critical freight-related workers
- the Northern Territory requires anyone arriving in the Territory from Victoria or Sydney to go into a 14-day quarantine
- Queensland forbids anyone who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot, which includes the whole of Victoria and parts of Sydney, from entering
- South Australia forbids Victorians (except for Essential Travellers) from entering the State. There are some restrictions on NSW and ACT travellers too
- Tasmania has closed its borders to nearly everyone bar essential workers and some other categories of people
- Western Australia has a hard border that is closed to nearly everyone bar essential workers and some other categories of people
- Perth - a cap of 525 international arrivals per week applies
- Brisbane - an overall cap of 500 international arrivals per week arrives
- Sydney - a cap of 450 international arrivals per day will continue with a view to further reductions
- Maritime Safety Queensland has imposed vessel reporting protocols on ships arriving in Queensland after calling in Victoria
The situation is extremely fluid. Jurisdictions all over Australia have been updating their public health directives. Shipping Australia is working to update these pages. However, the most up-to-date information (as of 16 July 2020) is coloured in red text.
18 June 2020
SEAFARER CREW CHANGE POLICY
NOTE - temporary alteration to this seafarer crew change policy
Date of update: 02 July 2020
Earlier this week, Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advised Freight Victoria that the “e-form” to apply for an exemption to the quarantine policy on their website is not fully operational.
Accordingly, any requests for exemptions should be emailed to: DHHScovid.Ports@dhhs.vic.gov.au until the form is up and running. In the subject matter line please say “Attention: Maritime” – so that it is referred correctly.
DHHS also advised that the request can be made by the shipping agent, however, specific details must be provided for each seafarer and when the e-form is operational, a separate e-form will be required for each seafarer.
It is anticipated that the e-form will be available shortly. If an application is made using the email address it will not be necessary to re-submit via the e-form.
When Shipping Australia is advised that the webform is operational then this temporary note will be removed.
For now (as of 02 July 2020) there may be instructions (below) to only send requests by webform and not email. While this note is in effect do the exact opposite: send requests by email and not webform.
Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has today (18 June 2020) issued comprehensive guidance allowing seafarers be exempt from going into a mandatory 14-day quarantine. But the exemption has some limitations (see below).
In summary: Seafarers ARE subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine BUT they can be made exempt either on a case-by-case basis or by falling into certain categories.
Mariners arriving in Victoria on an international flight and who plan to join a ship (case-by-case exemptions)
- Upon arrival in Australia by air seafarers must go into a mandatory 14-day quarantine – UNLESS…
- a specific exemption is granted by the DHSS
- apply in writing to the DHSS
- use this web-form to apply [NOTE: 02 July 2020 - the webform is temporarily inoperative]
- DO NOT USE EMAIL [NOTE: 02 July 2020 - as the webform is temporarily inoperative do in fact send email]
- Do not use the form for emergencies – call 000 instead
- apply in writing to the DHSS
- a specific exemption is granted by the DHSS
Mariners arriving in Victoria on an international flight and who plan to join a ship (general exemptions)
- Mariners who arrive in Victoria from an overseas flight; and
- are boarding a ship at a port directly from the flight; and
- the time between boarding the ship and the vessel departing Victoria for an overseas port of call is less than 48 hours
… do not have to go into a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Crew must use privately organised transport and follow appropriate physical distancing measures while transiting.
The crew would need to produce a document(s) on their company letterhead indicating:
- the name of the vessel to which they are going
- the the person is a crew member of that vessel
- the vessel’s date and time of departure (within 48 hours)
- that if the vessel is delayed beyond 48 hours the crew member understands he or she is to go into mandatory quarantine until the vessel leaves (he or she will need to contact DHHS via employer)
- that when the vessel departs it is going to an international port for its next stop
At the point of entry the seafarer will need to show the letter to the Authorised Officer who will enter seafarer's details into an app (not the COVID-Safe app) and who will then photograph the letter. The mariner can then make his or her way to the ship in private transport while wearing personal protective equipment.
If the time/date of departure of the vessel is greater than 48 hours from the time of arrival of the crew member, he or she should go into mandatory quarantine until the vessel is ready to depart. It would be unusual for Victorian Government officials to change this position. In limited circumstances, approval may be sought to undertake the quarantine at an alternative location in Victoria (use this web-form to apply). Each request is considered on its own merits. If such approval is sought, the crew member or their employer should get in touch with DHHS before the crew member arrives in Melbourne and should provide supporting proof such as a report from a medical practitioner.
Mariners arriving in Victoria by sea and who plan to join an international flight
Maritime crew will be allowed to transit from their ship to an international flight if:
- the flight is leaving the same day; and
- they travel directly to the airport using privately organised transport; and
- they follow appropriate physical distancing measures.
- However, crew members can also self-isolate in a hotel for up to 24 hours and then travel directly to the airport.
NOTE: If there is more than 24 hours until the flight, they must stay in mandatory hotel quarantine until the flight, or for 14 days, whichever is shorter. The seafarer can stay in a hotel of their choice but must self-isolate. When going to and from the hotel crew must wear personal protective equipment and must use private transport. Crew cannot move around the city prior to leaving Australia and must stay in their hotel room. Crew must go into government-directed quarantine if they stay for longer than 24 hours.
Mariners transferring from ship-to-ship in Victoria
This situation refers to maritime crew arriving on an international vessel (“the old vessel”) and planning to leave Victoria on another vessel (“the new vessel”) that is departing for an international port.
Ship-swapping maritime crew are not subject to mandatory hotel quarantine in the following situation:
- If they are boarding the new vessel directly after disembarking the old vessel; and
- the time between boarding the vessel and the vessel departing the Victorian port for an international port is no more than 48 hours.
- The crew member must use privately organised transport and follow appropriate physical distancing measures while transiting between the vessels.
Ship-swapping maritime crew are also not subject to mandatory hotel quarantine in the following situation:
- If the time from disembarking the old vessel and joining the new vessel is no more than 24 hours; and
- the time between boarding the new vessel and the vessel departing the Victorian port for an international port is no more than 48 hours.
- In this case, the crew member must self-isolate in their accommodation (organised by their shipping company) for the layover period and travel directly to the port to join the new vessel.
- The crew member must use privately organised transport and follow appropriate physical distancing measures while transiting to and from the vessels and their accommodation.
If the time/date of departure of the vessel is greater than 48 hours from the time of arrival of the crew member, they should go into mandatory quarantine until the vessel is ready to depart. It would be unusual for Victorian Government officials to change this position. In limited circumstances, approval may be sought to undertake the quarantine at an alternative location in Victoria (use this web-form to apply). Each request is considered on its own merits. If such approval is sought, the crew member or their employer should get in touch with DHHS before the crew member arrives in Melbourne and should provide supporting proof such as a report from a medical practitioner.
Mariners returning home after overseas service
Mariners going home either to Victoria, or going anywhere in Australia via Victoria, after serving on a ship sailing international waters must go into a 14-day quarantine (but see further notes below).
Returning High Seas mariners without any overseas stops
- mariners who
- travelled to Australia from overseas; and
- who then completed a 14-day quarantine in Australia; and
- who then sailed from an Australian port onto the High Seas; and
- their ship did not…
- pick-up any more crew; nor
- stop at a foreign port during the voyage; nor
- have any illness on board that may indicate the presence of COVID-19
…can re-enter Victoria without going into quarantine or self-isolation.
Mariners that have only been in Australian waters
- mariners who
- were on ships that did not leave Australian waters; and
- were on ships that only had crew who have done 14-days mandatory hotel quarantine upon arrival in Australia (and who can prove it)
- were on ships without any indications of COVID-19 aboard
… can re-enter Victoria without going into quarantine or self-isolation.
Shore-based professionals performing work on a vessel in Victorian ports
Shore-based professionals (such as pilots, stevedores, vessel agents, surveyors, fumigators, shipper/receiver representative) can come on board the vessel to carry out essential vessel functions, provided necessary precautions have been put in place on the vessel.
International crew performing shore-based activities
All crew must remain on-board while the vessel is berthed in Victoria, with the exception of conducting brief essential docking, security and maintenance tasks. Only the minimum necessary number of staff should be used to perform these tasks and interactions with shore-based professionals must be kept to a minimum. Where interaction is required, a distance of 1.5 metres should be kept between crew and shore-based professionals.
Note the requirement that there be an "overseas" call
Readers should note the requirement that the next port of call after picking up an on-signing seafarer must be an overseas port. If the next port of call is another port in Australia then the on-signing seafarer must go into, and complete, a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government-nominated facility (typically this is a hotel).
Correspondence: Victoria's Department of Transport and Shipping Australia, 22 June 2020
18 June 2020
SICK / INJURED SEAFARER POLICY (non-infectious disease)
Crew requiring medical attention (for non-coronavirus or other listed human disease-related illness) who would not otherwise be disembarking in Victoria
A crew member may be granted approval to disembark a maritime vessel at a Victorian port without having to go into mandatory hotel quarantine if:
- he or she is coming off the vessel for the sole purpose of seeking medical review for a non-coronavirus (COVID-19) related medical complaint and has also been given clearance by Australia Border Force (ABF) and Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) to do so
- the crew member wears a surgical mask, travels directly to the medical facility in private transport and maintains physical distancing between the crew member and the driver
- the crew member or operator of the vessel notifies the driver of the transport and medical facility prior to their arrival that the crew member is leaving an international maritime vessel and has not completed 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine
- Following medical review, (if deemed well enough to not need hospital admission) the crew member travels directly back to the vessel in the same manner as he or she travelled to the health facility.
Port Phillip Sea Pilots has introducing a procedure requiring a Questionnaire to be completed by all ships to enable relevant stakeholders in the port to undertake a risk assessment. Each vessel will be assessed and prioritised before a pilot boards, the 14-day period from leaving a foreign port will be a factor in our risk assessment but will not necessarily preclude a vessel from boarding a pilot.
The Questionnaire must be sent to all ships at least 24hrs before a Port Phillip Sea Pilot is required for the ports of Melbourne, Geelong and Westernport so that it can be completed and returned to PPSP pilot station.
Port Phillip Sea Pilot will NOT board a vessel without the questionnaire being lodged and the risk assessment completed. This procedure is effective from 1800 on 26 March 2020.