The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has called on its member states to avoid unnecessary restrictions or delay on port entry to ships, persons and property on board in the cause of checking cargo or passengers from spreading Coronavirus into their countries.
The IMO call was contained in a circular letter it issued and addressed to its member states.
Following reports received regarding the impacts on the shipping industry of the sudden and rapid outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), IMO has issued a Circular Letter advising Member States and others on implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO Instruments.
IMO in the letter urged Flag State authorities, port State authorities and control regimes, companies and shipmasters to cooperate, in the current context of the outbreak, to ensure that, where appropriate, passengers can be embarked and disembarked, cargo operations can occur, ships can enter and depart shipyards for repair and survey, stores and supplies can be loaded, certificates can be issued and crews can be exchanged.
It noted that the principles of avoiding unnecessary restrictions or delay on port entry to ships, persons and property on board are contained in articles I and V and section 6 of the annex to IMO’s Facilitation Convention.
‘’IMO will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,’’ said IMO.