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Monday, May 17, 2021

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COVID-19: UPDATED INFORMATION AFFECTING SHIPS

Updated: 14 April 2021

Current situation (summary):

-> Argentina is still under sanitary emergency since 20th March 2020.

-> As from 9th November 2020 most part of the country shifted from the Mandatory Social Isolation (known locally as ASPO) to a more flexible Mandatory Social Distancing (known as DISPO) which represents a flexibilisation of the strict lockdown that was enforced as from 20th March 2020. However, considering recent epidemiological developments which suggest that Argentina has entered in the so-called "second wave", restrictions have been reinforced as from 9th April 2021 until 30th April 2021. Regime to be renewed or reviewed according to the epidemiological developments.

-> Since the beginning, the international trade has been exempted from the lockdown.

-> Ports’ and ships’ operations: opened. Up to date:

-> Especial 72 hrs pre-arrival information is still requested according to National Protocol.

-> Unless there is an identified risk, the Ministry of Health has suspended the physical examination (body temperature measurement) previously taken at Zona Comun or Reclada especially to those vessels arriving with less than 14-days transit time.

-> Despite of the applicable NATIONAL PROTOCOL, there are still some jurisdictions which have adopted a stricter approach preventing the ship to berth whenever it arrives there with less than 14-day transit time (affecting mainly ships arriving from   Brazil or Chile due to its short transit time). This situation continues to be observed in:

-> Bahia Blanca ports

-> Necochea ports  

-> Surveyor’s attendance: whilst in general surveying services have been provided throughout some restrictions or delays may be observed because:

-> Those surveyors with health risk factors are not in general providing services;

-> Some terminals (such as Siderar at San Nicolas port) would require recent Covid19 test for everyone entering from different jurisdictions

-> Borders remain closed for tourism and no crew changes are allowed. However, injured or ill Crewmembers will be admitted disembarking however there are still important limitations to repatriate them. The authorities may agree to disembark and repatriate crewmembers for humanitarian reasons. 

Further info:

As a consequence of the outbreak of the COVID-19, declared as pandemic by WHO, Argentina  - where up to date reported +2.55M COVID-19 cases, including 58K deaths and 2.2M recoveries  –  declared the Sanitary Emergency in March 2020 and took strict measures / lockdown. Only recently, as from 9th November 2020, most part of the country shifted from a strict lockdown and mandatory social isolation (known locally as ASPO) to a more flexible regime defined as mandatory social distancing (know as DISPO); however, as from 9th April 2021 restrictions have increased as Argentina entered into the "second wave" with a low and slow rate of vaccination. This will last at least until 30th April 2021 and will be renewed according to epidemiological developments. 

Under Decrees of Need and Urgency 260/2020 (12 MAR 2020) and 297/2020 (19 MAR 2020) and periodical extensions/modifications, President Alberto Fernandez declared the “sanitary emergency” in Argentina and various extraordinary measures taken thereupon, most importantly, the so-called “precautionary and mandatory social isolation” applicable effective to all Argentinean territory.

As from 9th November 2020 most part of the country shifted from the Mandatory Social Isolation (known locally as ASPO) to a more flexible "Mandatory Social Distancing" (known as DISPO) which represents a flexibilisation of the strict lockdown that was enforced as from 20th March. The current DISPO regime has seen new restrictions as from 9th April 2021 until 30th April 2021 when it will be renewed according to the epidemiological developments.

From 16 MAR 2020 Pandi Liquidadores SRL closed the office and all administrative and claims handlers staff moved to a remote-working scheme. Within our continuity plan we have been providing our services on the usual manner insofar as the ports continue operating and our surveyors are allowed to provide services on board:

  • Remote office te.: +54 11 7078 0186 (Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00)
  • On duty 24/7: +54 911 4446 0662 (as usual, emergencies and A.O.H.)
  • Mobiles phones and other contact details as published in the Clubs’books

- As from 15 MAR 2020 the Executive decided to close all boarders. Foreign tourism has been suspended, and various regular routes have been again suspended.  

- Within the exceptions to the mandatory isolation, the Executive exempted various activities including “Urgent activities related to foreign trade”.

- The Ministry of Health  has suspended the physical examination of the crew at Common Zone or Recalada Pilot Station (previously taken on board those vessels arriving with less than 14-day transit). This may vary in case of an identified health risk when we assume that if any symptom is detected, the ship will be quarantined. However, the ill crew/passenger could be disembarked, diagnosed, and treated according to COVID-19 protocols. Please note that the shipowners may face the costs of disembarking, moving to health care center and other costs associated with the case, depending on each case and the conditions imposed by the Ministry of Health. 

On 21st May 2020 the relevant CRISIS COMMITTEE updated the provisions of the NATIONAL PROTOCOL and the pre-arrival information/documentation requested and quarantine criteria depending on ship's previous ports of call, transit time and crew changes. Please download the AMENDED PROTOCOL HERE. STILL APPLICABLE.

- Previous guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Transport established upon which conditions the crew of a ship calling any port could disembark. This however seems to be changed an no crew are allowed to disembark at any port. Humanitarian reasons shall be considered by the Authorities. 

- At Bahia Blanca and necochea unions require for all ships (less gas and essential goods) to arrive with a 14 day quarentine (transti time to count). It was reported that Necochea port would follow, and may return to this modality. 

- The Ministry of Transport, through Resolution 60/20 dated 13 MAR 2020 created “Crisis Committee to Prevent COVID-19 in River, Maritime and Lacustrine Transport”. In turn, on 20 MAR 2020 the Committee issued the “COVID-19 Protocol” applicable to  the Country, according to which IS STILL APPLICABLE:

  • Any suspected case must be reported to Health Authorities o whom acts on their behalf;
  • 72 hours prior to ship’s arrival, the Master must submit before the Health Authorities pre-arrival information (see specific requirements in the AMENDED PROTOCOL HERE
  • “essential personnel” are those involved in shipping and ports who provide operational and safety services , such as: pilots, Master/Crew, stevedores, quantity and quality control companies, tugs, holds/tanks inspectors, Customs brokers, ISPS offiers, ship agents, motor boats providers (amongst others described);
  • Various general measures are implemented related to increase hygiene conditions both in ports and ships, operational and precautional measures for crew, pilot, shore personnel; as sestrictions to board, to enter the port and to provide services to the vessels; measures in case of isolation in ports; and guidelines for quarentine ships
  • This and other details must be consulted with the ship agents at the appropriate time
- We have previosuly informed that as from 9th April 2021 the Pilots have requested to be vaccinated with priority given that their work is considered esential. In the meantime, they have decided to adopt a 10-day isolation after disembarking and prior to embarking again. This may affect the availability of Pilots and therefore may cause delays to the ships. On 14/4/21 it has been reported that there was an agreement between the Pilots and the Authorities and this measure has been desactivated. -->NO LONGER APPLICABLE<---

Yours Faithfully,

PANDI LIQUIADORES SRL/BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Notice: the content of this circular is for information only. Even though it has been issued carefully, and to the best of our knowledge, it has a general purpose and we can accept no liability whatsoever for any particular action taken upon it. © Pandi Liquidadores SRL 2020. All rights reserved.