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With the global community holding their breath to see how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect all aspects of our lives, from business to our daily behaviour, governments are issuing precautions to slow down the worrying trend of the infection. One of the latest precautions issued came from the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure via the circular numbered 2020/2 on 16 March 2020 (“Circular”) amid a series of previously implemented travel restrictions to and from 20 countries, at the time of this alert, including the PRC, Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK.
The Circular lists the following precautions:
1. The requirement for all Turkish and foreign flagged vessels performing international voyages to give 24-hours notice via the Single Window System prior to entering the harbour area has been increased to 48 hours;
2. A risk assessment pursuant to the Circular as well as other medical/health notifications with regard to any arriving vessels should be carried out and no contact should be made with any vessel until the risk assessment is carried out and a Clean Bill of Health certificate is issued by the Turkish Directorate General of Health Services for Borders and Coasts;
3. The last 10 ports at which the vessel called over the last 14 days to be identified from the vessel’s arrival notice and in the event these ports are among those declared as a country at risk by the Coronavirus Science Committee or if in the last 14 days, the nationals of those countries or an individual who has been in one of these countries, embarked the vessel, the required actions shall be undertaken in coordination with the Turkish Directorate General of Health Services for Borders and Coasts;
4. All personnel that embarks Turkish or foreign flagged vessels for survey or inspection purposes to use the supplied protective gear throughout the survey/inspection;
5. The monthly and quarterly pre-survey inspections of the Turkish flagged vessels to be carried out at 2-month and 4-month periods, and the vessel’s pre-survey period to be extended up to 6 months in the event in the last 14 days, the nationals of those countries at risk or an individual who has been in one of these countries, embarked the vessel;
6. The Port State Inspection rate for the foreign flagged vessels for a period of 3 months from the date of the Circular shall be 15%;
7. The documents/certificates submitted by the agents via the Single Window System for the entry/departure of vessels to/from shore facilities and shipyards to be kept at the agents’ offices and when necessary, to be submitted to the authorities upon request; further the necessary administrative steps to be taken in order to establish a minimum line of communication;
8. An official warning to be issued to all shore facilities and shipyards located within the administrative jurisdiction of the Harbour Master for the implementation of the precautions issued by the Coronavirus Science Committee; and
9. All advisory decisions issued by the Ministry of Health and the Coronavirus Science Committee to be followed during performance of all procedures.
In consideration of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Circular also urges all relevant parties to follow the issued advice and take all necessary precautions during this dire period.
Our firm will continue to update our clients and friends of the firm of any developments regarding the precautions being implemented to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance to you.