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China - Thefts at Tianjin anchorage


Members calling at Tianjin port in China should note that the Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Limited, Tianjin Branch, has issued a Circular on recent thefts of bunkers, stores and spare parts from vessels whilst at anchorage.

The anchorage is about 20 nautical miles from the port entrance and thieves approach vessels in smaller boats, usually under cover of night and during winter time when high waves may limit radar/phone signal. Whilst some thieves have been caught and the security level at Tianjin port is unaffected, the Master and crew should be aware of the incidents and remain vigilant.

Further details of the above, as well as suggested security measures for vessels whilst at anchorage and recommendations as to what to do in the event of a theft, can be found in the Correspondent’s Circular which can be accessed by clicking here.

02 Dec 2016

Cuba – US sanctions - Non US flagged vessels calling in Cuba - Waiver of 180 day rule for Cuba calls for certain agricultural commodities or manufactured products


Members will be aware the US Authorities previously implemented a rule under which vessels calling Cuba are prohibited from calling in the US within 180 days thereafter. However, the New York Correspondent, Tisdale Law Office, advises that a waiver of this rule has been introduced for non US flagged vessels, although the waiver only applies to certain agricultural commoditiesor manufactured products. 

For an agricultural commodity to qualify for the waiver, it must appear in both

  1. the definition of agricultural commodities in Title 15(B)(VII)(C) Part 772 ("Definitions") of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, which includes various food and feed products carried in bulk.  For the full definition, click here;  and
  2. the list of commodities eligible for shipment to Cuba maintained by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service (also called the FAS Schedule B list).  For the list, click here.

For a manufactured product to qualify for the waiver, it must appear in both:

  1. the Commerce Control List ("CCL") as  maintained in the CFR in Title 15 (B)(VII)(C), Part 774 ("Appendix"), and
  2. be denoted as “AT" as the "reason for control" on the relevant entry on the CCL list  (AT demonstrates that the listing in the CCL is only for anti-terrorism reasons).

The CCL list largely contains manufactured or processed goods that would not normally be transported in bulk. For the CCL list, click here.

The waiver came into force on 17 October 2016.Tisdale Law Office advise that OFAC have orally indicated to them that the waiver will be applied retroactively (i.e. OFAC consider  that  the waiver will be effective for any qualifying vessel calling the US on or after that date even if the vessel has called in Cuba in the 180 days previous to 17 October).   

Members who are US nationals or US flagged entries, should continue to comply with the pre-existing US sanctions regime in place in respect of Cuba.

28 Oct 2016

Argentina – Visa Requirements for Supernumeraries


Members calling at ports in Argentina should note that the Correspondent, Pandi Liquidadores SRL, has recently issued a Circular regarding the potentially onerous cost consequences of supernumeraries and other passengers not meeting immigration requirements for Argentina.  Whilst crewmembers do not require visas, Owners are advised to take care that any supernumeraries or passengers on board are properly equipped with valid visas.

In addition to the usual immigration fines imposed in the absence of a valid visa, ranging between USD400 to USD10,000, the Migration Authority is also requiring Owners to pay for security guards to remain on board the vessel for the duration of its stay.  This can be expected to increase daily costs by around USD3,500, depending on the number of guards placed on board.

A copy of the Correspondent’s Circular with further details can be accessed by clicking here.

20 Sep 2016

China – Zika Virus – 2nd Update on Mosquito Eradication Certificates


Members will already be aware of the Zika prevention measures required by the Chinese Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ).  These measures include the provision of a Mosquito Eradication Certificate (MEC) in circumstances where the vessel’s last port of call was in a Zika affected area.  For Members’ guidance, the areas initially identified as “Affected Areas” were outlined in the Club’s News Alert of 16 March 2016 (click here) and clarification provided by the Chinese authorities regarding controls, enforced locally by CIQ, were also outlined in our News Alert of 18 March 2016 (click here).

We have recently received a further update from the Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Limited, advising that Singapore has been added to the list of Affected Areas. Notably, an MEC will be required if personnel are either embarked/disembarked from the ship or if cargo operations are performed.  However, there is no requirement for an MEC the vessel is only stopping for bunkers unless personnel are transferred between barge and ship.  Vessel operators may wish to take this development into consideration when arranging bunkering operations or  change of crew.

As CIQ requirements may vary from port to port and there is no prescribed wording for the MEC certificate, the Correspondent recommends that Owners consult their local agents once the Chinese port of call is known to verify the specific requirements of that particular port. The correspondents also suggest an appropriate wording to be included in any MEC to assist with a possible inspection in China.

A copy of the Correspondent’s Circular with further details can be accessed by clicking here

13 Sep 2016

Brazil – Immigration Fines for Overstaying Crew


Members who call at ports in Brazil will be aware that issues can arise in relation to delays. Whilst the immediate concern of Owners/Charterers may be the demurrage accruing under the relevant charter, Members should note a potential problem arising in relation to crew overstaying the maximum 30 days from the first point of entry. Proinde, a Correspondent in Brazil, has recently highlighted this in their Circular, which includes information on the procedure for visa renewal and/or extensions to ‘allowed stays’, and the level of fines for failing to address the issue in time. Click here to access a copy of Proinde’s Circular and here for a sample immigration entry-exit card.

Owners should liaise with their local agent to ensure that the expiration dates on crew immigration cards are not missed. A crewmembers’ ‘allowed stay’ can be extended, but the Correspondent advises that it is prudent to factor in five days to complete the formalities. Members should also bear in mind that an extension tax is payable on every application. Should crew overstay then both the crewmember and the Owner will be subject to a fine which will be based on the number of days of overstay. Contractual counterparties should give due thought to the allocation of risk for the bearing of these potential additional costs when negotiating a charter.  

29 Jul 2016

Turkey - Port Situation


Members will already be aware of the attempted coup overnight on 15-16 July in Turkey and the consequent potentially volatile security situation. Whilst a number of flights to and from airports in Turkey have been affected, the latest information concerning the situation at Turkish ports/straits received from correspondents, Vitsan Mumessiillik ve Musavirlik AS, Kalimbassieris Maritime AS, and law firm, Cavus & Coskunsu, is essentially as follows:-

  1. Turkish straits at Bosporus and Dardanelles are fully operational.

  2. Repairs at Tuzla area shipyards are unaffected with work continuing normally.

  3. The country’s ports operate normally as well, we are not aware of any known abnormalities.

At the moment, the situation is not thought to affect the safety of vessels calling at Turkish ports. Members who have vessels that are due to call at Turkish ports and/or considering fixing to load/discharge at Turkish ports, should keep abreast of the local situation.

21 Jul 2016

International Group - Annual Review - 2015/16


The International Group Annual Review 2015/16 is available and can be accessed by clicking here. The Review covers many of the key activities undertaken by the Group during the last P&I policy year and includes summaries of the work carried out by a number of its Sub-Committees and Working Groups on a range of issues, including Sanctions, Places of Refuge and the Maritime Labour Convention.

20 Jul 2016

Ukraine/Spain – Infested Dunnage Wood


A Correspondent in Barcelona, Indeco, reports that there have been three recent incidents of shipments of steel plates from Mariupol, Ukraine, arriving at various Spanish ports with dunnage wood infested with coleopteran beetles. As attempts by Phytosanitary Authorities to fumigate the dunnage wood were unsuccessful, the dunnage had to remain on board the vessel for transportation back to the port of origin.

Members loading cargoes from Mariupol should remain vigilant as to the condition of dunnage prior to loading.

The full update on the Correspondent’s website can be accessed by clicking here.

28 Jun 2016

Drones launched from Vessels


We would like to bring to Members’ attention a recent incident involving the launch of a drone from a vessel. The motivation was innocent, namely to document the vessel proceeding through the Suez Canal. However, the use of the drone led to an investigation by the local authorities, likely due to concern that the drone was being used for illegal purposes, and resulted in confiscation of the drone and memory card, as well as detention of the vessel by the Egyptian authorities.

Seafarers should therefore exercise caution when using drones, particularly when a vessel is in port or within a country’s territorial waters. Any applicable local regulations, which can vary greatly from country to country, should also be followed, so as to avoid an incident which may result in a fine, detention of the vessel and/or prosecution of personnel.

22 Jun 2016

News Alerts Archive

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