Maritime Safety Queensland COVID Update 170

Saturday, September 11, 2021

SOURCE: MARITIME SAFETY QUEENSLAND

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Updates to Queensland Health Officer public health directive can be found here 

Banner with an image of Angus Mitchell and the words A message from the General Manager  (Maritime Safety Queensland)

10 September 2021 | Update 170

Dear maritime colleagues,

Each Friday Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), Department of Transport and Main Roads emails stakeholders to provide an update on COVID-19 and its impacts on the maritime industry. Additional updates are also issued following changes to restrictions and whole of government response to COVID-19.  

MSQ's current directions, vessel reporting statistics and COVID-19 updates can be found on the MSQ website.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop around Australia, there are a number of COVID-19 hotspots and exposure venues in various States and Territories 

For the most up to date information on COVID-19 Hotspots and Exposure Venues please visit the Queensland Health website

 

Whats New? 

COVID MATTERS MSQ IS MANAGING

DEMETER LEADER

Three crew members on board the car carrier,?Demeter Leader?have returned positive COVID-19 tests following reports of symptoms on Friday (August 20). The vessel is currently anchored off the Sunshine Coast. 

The vessel has 21 crew members in total, with its last port being Singapore. 
 
Maritime Safety Queensland with Queensland Health have well-established protocols in place for safely managing international crew movements within the current COVID-19 environment. 
 
The three COVID positive crew members were evacuated from the vessel on Wednesday 25 August. 

The crew were tested again on 30 August, with all crew returning negative results. The next test was scheduled for Monday?06 Sep 2021, however has been delayed until 10 Sep 2021 due to weather conditions in the anchorage. 

Testing was conducted today, with results pending. If all crew test negative, it is anticipated that the vessel will be cleared to resume normal operations. 

TAHAROA PROVIDENCE 

Ore carrier, TAHAROA PROVIDENCE, reported three crew displaying COVID-19 symptoms. 

The vessel's next port was Taharoa, New Zealand.  

After identifying the symptoms, the vessel diverted to Brisbane seeking testing of crew and management of the vessel and crew if any of the crew tested positive to COVID-19. 

Since initial medical assessment, one of the symptomatic crew member's health condition has worsened.  

Medevac of the crewmember to hospital occurred on Thursday 9 Sept under strict infection control processes. 

The crew member has tested positive to COVID-19 while in hospital. The remaining crew will be COVID tested at anchor today (Sept 10). 

The health of all the crew members and protection of the Queensland community remain of the utmost importance. 

Other vessels of interest 

Container ship, MAJD, reported one crew member experiencing a fever. The vessel's crew will be COVID tested at the Sunshine Coast outer anchorage today (Sept 10). If all crew test negative, the vessel will be cleared to resume normal operations. 

Day 16/17 Testing following completion of hotel quarantine

Recent changes to the Border Restrictions Direction and Quarantine for International Arrivals Direction introduces the requirement for a person leaving hotel quarantine in Queensland to undertake a COVID-19 test 2 or 3 days after leaving hotel quarantine (day 16/17 testing since the start of their quarantine) and to restrict their movements until they receive a negative result from that test.

Any person who has completed hotel quarantine in another State or Territory that is a COVID-19 hotspot who transits directly to Queensland, must also undertake a COVID-19 test on day 16/17.

To confirm, maritime crew may still join their vessel after leaving hotel quarantine. If 14 days quarantine has not been completed, a COVID safe transit corridor must be maintained in accordance with the Maritime Protocol and with endorsement by the relevant Regional Harbour Master.

The day 16/17 testing only applies if crew are still in Queensland. Any crew who have left Queensland or joined a vessel waiting to leave Queensland do not need to undertake day 16/17 testing.

COVID-19 Vaccinations - Maritime Industry Workers 

Maritime Industry workers who board international vessels in Australian waters or interact with international maritime crew while in Queensland are a priority group eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Maritime industry workers can register for the COVID-19 vaccine at a Queensland Health vaccination location and will be contacted by Queensland Health when an appointment becomes available in your local area. 

To register, visit Register to be Vaccinated (health.qld.gov.au) and select 'Quarantine and Border worker'. No registration code is necessary. 

Further information can be found at About the COVID-19 vaccine | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au) 

Additional COVID-19 measures for Marine Pilots 

With the emergence of highly transmissible COVID-19 variants, such as the Delta strain, the risk profile of shipping and marine pilotage has shifted. This is particularly evident, noting the transmission of COVID-19 from a ship to a marine pilot in Queensland recently. As this risk profile evolves, so too must our management of COVID-safe practices on board vessels. 

MSQ is currently working with the marine pilotage industry to explore additional COVID-19 measures, including voluntary routine surveillance testing and review of on-board practices. 

International Maritime Crew Protocols and Directions

Maritime Protocol

The Protocol for Maritime Crew can found?here.?
 

Requirements for persons boarding ships


International ships are a nominated premises. Time at sea is not counted, and maritime crew on board are subject to full quarantine requirements, regardless of date of departure from last international port.

Only persons who are critically required for the purpose of safety or operation of the vessel may board the vessel (e.g. pilots, stevedores, specialist technicians, surveyors, Government officials carrying out their duties).

If critically required to board a vessel, workers MUST comply with the precautions as outlined below:

  • Wear appropriate PPE;
  • Maintain physical distancing;
  • Sanitise hands frequently and maintain good hygiene;
  • Avoid contact/interaction with crew to the greatest extent possible;
  • Do NOT stay onboard ship overnight;
  • Only to remain on vessel for the time necessary to complete the required work;
  • Avoid using shared facilities on the vessel (this includes food cooked on board and eating or drinking from ship cutlery);
  • Present for testing if symptoms develop in the following 14 days.

Failure to comply with all of the above requirements may result in mandatory 14 days hotel quarantine.

Compliance with these requirements are critical to protect the lives and livelihoods of port workers and all Queenslanders.

Entry to Queensland - Maritime workers (non maritime crew)

Important – Freight/logistics border passes (F Passes) do not apply to maritime workers. (they only apply to on-road logistics, such as truck drivers) 

Specialist Workers in the maritime industry (such as specialist technicians) who are not maritime crew may still enter Queensland if they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days. However, application must be made and approved by Queensland Health. Strict criteria applies as follows: 

  • the services provided by the person are needed in Queensland; and 
  • the services provided by the person cannot be obtained in Qld or a non-hotspot; and 
  • the services must be provided without delay; and 
  • the person must be physically present in Queensland to provide the services; and 
  • the person's employer or business has a quarantine management plan in the form approved by the Chief Health Officer. 

It should be noted that specialist worker exemptions are extraordinary, and organisations are expected to look at all operational, relocation, workforce planning solutions, or alternative sourcing of services before applying for exemptions. 

Specialist worker exemptions are only granted when all of the above criteria are met, which is very rare. Any conditions that Queensland Health as part of any endorsements must also be complied with. 

Quarantine and Shore Leave for Seafarers

Quarantine for Seafarers - Government Hotel Quarantine


All maritime crew must use government quarantine facilities. This is to ensure sufficient security overlay and public health considerations, consistent with Queensland's quarantine requirements.

Further information on Government Hotel Quarantine requirements for seafarers and notices for Shipping agents refer to previous General Manager update.


Shore Leave for Maritime Crew Not Permitted 

Under QLD Health Directives and Protocols, shore leave is not permitted. This includes vessels that have been underway for more than 14 days since last overseas port as sea time is no longer counted. Crew are only permitted to disembark a vessel and proceed ashore for medical appointments and crew changes coordinated through MSQ, as well as to the wharf for general vessel operations

Brisbane International Airport

Departing Off-Signers

When arriving at the Brisbane International Airport, off-signing maritime crew must be in possession of, and able to produce, documentation permitting them to enter transit countries and final destinations. Agents must ensure that each mariner is in possession of this documentation including the required number of copies of each document. For example, some destinations in India require 4 copies of certain documents.

It should be noted that failure to have the relevant documentation may result in mariners being turned away by airlines and returned to a quarantine hotel.

Please ensure you are aware of the entry requirements of each country prior to arrival.

Arriving On-Signers


Maritime Crew and Transport Operators collecting Maritime Crew at the Brisbane International Airport?must note the pickup locations here.

Maritime Crew will be escorted from the internal staging area to their dedicated transport by Queensland Police/ Australian Defence Force Personnel.? 

Please see here notification outlining the process and location of the drop off zone for Mariners, noting there is no change to the current arrivals process and pick up area for arriving crew. 

Off-signer Testing 

Queensland Health will test all offsigning maritime crew who are required to quarantine in government nominated accommodation, for any duration of time. 

If an additional COVID-19 test is required within 72 hrs of a departing flight, Queensland Health will arrange this test upon request from the agent. Requests should be forwarded to MSQ.HLO@msq.qld.gov.au

Queensland Health will consider other methods of COVID-19 testing not within the current regime on a case by case basis. Requests will need to be forwarded to MSQ.HLO@msq.qld.gov.au for consideration. 

Offsigning maritime crew members may leave hotel quarantine prior to receiving a test result to immediately depart Australia by air (no domestic connecting flights). However, if a negative test result is a flight requirement, agents will need to allow sufficient time for test results to be returned 72 hours between arrival and departure from the quarantine hotel is recommended.

Failure to allow sufficient time for return of test results may result in the risk of missed flights and subsequent rescheduling/additional costs.

Queensland Health will cover the costs for COVID-19 tests. Agents will not be invoiced. 

Small craft entering Queensland from Interstate 

A Border Zone has been established under the Border Restrictions Direction. Only Border Zone residents are permitted to enter Queensland, and only for a permitted purpose. 

Who is a border zone resident?  

A border zone resident is someone who lives in the New South Wales border zone. You will not be considered a border zone resident if you have stayed in the border zone temporarily. You cannot stay in the border zone for 14 days and be considered a border zone resident. View the border zone map here, including LGAs in the border zone. 
 
Border zone residents can only cross the border for a permitted purpose. Border zone residents can travel anywhere in Queensland for a permitted purpose but should only stay in Queensland for the time necessary to complete the permitted activity. Queensland residents can return to Queensland after travelling into the New South Wales border zone for a permitted purpose as long as they do not travel outside of the border zone. 

There are very few reasons that a person would be permitted to cross the border by vessel. 

In addition to a Queensland Entry Pass, you will also need to provide proof that you live in a border zone. This proof can include a driver's license or another document that contains your address such as a utility bill. Emergency Officers can request this proof and if not produced, persons can be turned around. 

MSQ enforcement officers will be patrolling the maritime border, in collaboration with Queensland Water Police. 
 
Anyone found breaching border restrictions will be intercepted and face the consequences.? 
 
As of 1 July 2021, anyone who provides information that is not true or correct on their Queensland border declaration pass or breaches the Queensland COVID-19 border directions can receive an on the spot fine of $4135, a court-imposed penalty of up to?$13,785, or six months'?imprisonment.? 

 

Reporting & Measures

Queensland International Arrivals Registration Form 

Shipping agents are reminded that all international arrivals (including maritime crew) must complete a Queensland International Arrivals Registration form at least 3 days prior to arrival in Queensland. 

When registration is completed, a QR Code is issued. Shipping agents are asked to please provide this QR code to seafarers and inform them that they need to produce it to Queensland Police at the airport. 

Enhanced Reporting Measures

The below countries are subject to enhanced reporting protocols to ensure the mitigation measures at place in ports, specifically governing the interaction between seafarers and shoreside personnel, is tightly managed, the enhanced reporting protocols can be viewed here. 

This additional measure assists to ensure the welfare of seafarers, pilots, other maritime workers and the Queensland community. 

Vessels arriving in Queensland pilotage areas within 14 days from overseas departures or transits and ships that have carried out a crew change within the past 14 days.

Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Papua New Guinea?and?Indonesia?are subject to enhanced reporting protocols to ensure the mitigation measures at place in ports, specifically governing the interaction between seafarers and shoreside personnel, is tightly managed, the enhanced reporting protocols can be?viewed?here.?Due to several days of consistency high reported cases, South Korea will also be subject to enhanced reporting protocols from 0001 hours on 17 July 2021. This additional measure assists to ensure the welfare of seafarers, pilots, other maritime workers and the Queensland community.  

The table below shows a comparison of reported cases in the last fortnight of countries within 14 days travel from Australia.

International Vessel Movement

Vessel Movement and Exemptions

Since January 31 2020, 22,315 vessels have entered Queensland waters. Over the course of the past seven days (1200 Friday 3 September 2021 - 1200 Friday 10 September 2021), 253 vessels have entered Queensland port pilotage areas or Reef and Torres Straits.

Exemptions granted for Vessels

As of 1200 10 September 2021, two vessels currently hold exemptions from the General Managers direction issued as of 18th March and have been able to continue as scheduled. 
Since 18 March 2020, 113 requests for exemptions have been received with 97 approved.

Completed QLD Crew Changes - Last 7 Days

Over the past 7 days, 3 September 2021 - 10 September 2021,112 international crew have conducted crew changeovers in a Queensland port in accordance with the CHO mandated protocol, these change outs were conducted between 36 ships.  

The table below breaks down on signers and off signers for Queensland ports over the last 7 days. MSQ's crew change over report dashboard is updated daily, Monday-Friday at 09:30am. 

 

Seafarer Welfare  

Medical Assistance Ashore 

Seafarer welfare is in the uppermost of our minds at all times and MSQ is committed to working collectively with all stakeholders to assist with crew changes and medical requirements. With the complexity of the various COVID-19 requirements this can at times be challenging. Agents are reminded of the importance of welfare providers being notified in the event seafarers require hospitalisation ashore. Procedure for:

Maritime crew seeking medical attention must be transported by Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS). If QAS are not available, Qld Health may authorise other modes of transport.

Over the past seven days, 6 seafarers have utilised the 'Non-life threatening medical assistance ashore' process. 

Since MSQ commenced the process to assist seafarers travelling ashore for non-COVID health checks and appointments, there have been 637 applications successfully processed to date.

Seafarer Support and Appeals

Seafarer Welcome Packs 


It can be a daunting experience for our seafarers, who travel from all over the world, when they arrive in Queensland and are placed in hotel quarantine. Each seafarer speaks varying levels of English. 

To ensure our seafarers have all the resources they need available to them, Queensland Health has developed a Maritime Crew Support info sheet that has been translated into 9 of the most prevalent languages amongst seafarers. 

 

 

Keep up to date for COVID-19 maritime information and updates on MSQ's website.

To receive the MSQ COVID-19 updates, click here to subscribe.

Keep safe,

Andrew Mahon
A/General Manager (Maritime Safety Queensland)
Department of Transport and Main Roads