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Tuesday, June 9, 2020 

According to BIMCO, following discussions with the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, the administration in Hong Kong is opening for conditional but unrestricted crew change in Hong Kong.

With the arbitrary crew change deadline set out by a group of international stakeholders drawing ever closer, the administration in Hong Kong has taken a pragmatic approach, according to information provided to BIMCO by the Hong Kong Ship Owners Association (HKSAO) and confirmed by the Maritime Department (MARDEP) of the Hong Kong administration, allowing  for facilitation of crew change from cargo ships without scheduled cargo operations in Hong Kong if the following conditions are met:

  • Out-going crew members who have completed their service on board would be required to stay on board the vessel during their stay in Hong Kong and travel directly to the airport for repatriation to their home countries in order to minimise contact with the local community
  • In-coming crew members should only arrive Hong Kong when their vessels are berthed in Hong Kong and should get on board immediately upon arrival. If there is a genuine need for them to stay in Hong Kong while waiting to board, the shipping companies/agents should arrange for accommodation for self-isolation until getting on board
  • Point-to-point transfers should be arranged by the shipping companies/agents for crew members to and from the vessel.

BIMCO applauds the work done by the HKSAO and welcomes the pragmatic approach taken by the Hong Kong administration. The acceptance of crew change on ships without scheduled cargo operations in Hong Kong is a milestone achievement in the maritime industry’s shared ambition to perform crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, says BIMCO, this will encourage other administrations to take similar steps. BIMCO is monitoring restrictions to crew mobility in order to provide information to the shipping industry.

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