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Wednesday, February 5, 2020 

Shipowner organisation BIMCO says that, in response to a rising number of enquiries from members, it 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 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 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 organisation’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 will require a declaration on health and recent travel history of crew and passengers.

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