COVID-19 Venezuela: Guidelines by Maritime Authority for the mobilization of Seafarers
A decision amidst the Decree of State of Alarm and based on recommendations of the International Maritime Organization
Following Decree No. 4.160, published in the Official Gazette No. 6.519 dated 13 March 2020, by means of which the State of Alarm was declared to attend the COVID-19 emergency, as amended and extended, and in accordance with the recommendations made by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Venezuelan Maritime Authority, National Institute of Aquatic Spaces (INEA by its acronym is Spanish), issued Circular No. 14 dated April 27, 2020 named “Guidelines for the mobilization of seafarers and personnel associated with the Ship-Port interface in view of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 ”. This guideline includes:
1.Definition of “Key Workers” as: seafarers, personnel associated with the ship-port interface operations, regardless of their nationality, so long as it is within the Venezuelan territory. The key worker must have the following documents in force: (i) health certificate, (ii) contract, (iii) boarding and/or disembarking documents, (iv) termination of contract, (v) medical assistance, and (vi) any other document as may be appropriate.
Issuance of a provisional “safe-passage» for the key workers, that may be applied for through INEA’s website, and is available for ship agencies, shipping companies and other companies in the aquatic national sector. The referred safe passage is restricted to the following activities:
The Harbor Masters must notify the regional authorities responsible for implementation of the mitigation and eradication plans against COVID-19, about the issuance of the safe passage permits.
The authorities must allow transit and movement of key workers; and the latter must present same to the authorities if the corresponding identification documents are requested.
The Shipowners (through their shipping agencies) will be solely responsible for the transfer of the key workers, bearing all the expenses related to the mobilization, including in addition, food, lodging, fares. Also, Shipowners must satisfy and require fulfillment of sanitary obligations. Similarly, Shipowners must issue a Letter of Commitment to guarantee all the referred expenses.
All companies and institutions must provide information to the crew members about the protective measures against COVID-19, as suggested by the World Health Organization in the “Operational considerations for management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 on board ships”; by the International Chamber of Shipping in “COVID-19 ICS Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of the seafarers ”; as well as those issued by INEA.
The Harbor Masters must ensure compliance with the procedures and protocols required by the health authorities.
Circular No. 10 dated March 17, 2020, prohibiting the boarding and disembarking of crew is superseded.
Lastly, the guidelines set forth above cannot be used against measures of traffic restriction, curfew, traffic restriction schedules, amongst others, established in relation of the Decree of the State of Exception of Alarm.
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