August 08th 2021
Grounding at Upriver
In view of the ongoing developing situation and different communications and instructions being issued by Sanitary Authorities of the Argentine Government we have chosen to send a consolidated daily report at the closing of working hours with an update of the day’s news.
BAHIA BLANCA: The 14 day quarantine requirement applied by Stevedores at Bahia Blanca has been lifted. Vessels arriving at this port will now have to report to Sanitary Authority as per the same terms as vessels arriving at Recalada to call at Upriver ports.
Additionally, although it is reported that the “truce” granted by truck drivers has expired picket lines have not been restored. Trucks are delivering cargo to the terminals normally.
Necochea: Necochea maintains the requirement for a 14 day quarantine to all vessels calling. The 14 days are counted as from the date of departure of the last foreign port of call regardless of whether they may have also called at another port in Argentina and have a valid Free Practique.
River Parana Dredging and buoying. Hidrovia: The National Government will commence collecting the tolls on the River Plate and River Parana. The administrative change over is yet to be implemented from Hidrovia to the AGP (Administracion General de Puertos). In the meantime tolls will continue to be paid to Hidrovia as during the last 25 years. We will keep you posted.
The reported schedule is that there will soon be a call to tender for a “short” one year period to continue maintenance at presents levels and then later a “long” tender when improvements to upgrade the River will be required.
Other than that there is no further news. Much speculation and rumor about tariff changes is around, but so far this is merely speculative.
Grounding at Upriver: There were two groundings at Upriver during the last few days. Both of the vessels that grounded reported engine blackouts and this was the motive. The vessels are the mv “CHRIS” and the mv “ROSCO PLUM”. Both freed from the incidents and navigation is restored.
San Pedro: The dredging at San Pedro has concluded and the surveys done. The draft at zero datum is now 9.60 meters and the maximum permissible sailing draft is 9.00 meters FW basis today’s River level. Please consult our DAILY DRAFT Report for daily updates.
River Parana draft: The drought over SE Brazil continues. It is the most pronounced fall in the water level of the River Paraná since 1944. The population of cities along the banks of the River are entering into emergency drinking water protocols because the water intakes are now dry.
Below please note a graph issued by the National Water Institute (INA) with levels recorded since August 2018:
Villa Constitución: The port of Villa Constitución is now regaining activity, due to the falling draft of the River Parana. Given that most vessels are having to complete cargoes at Necochea and Bahia Blanca the lower maximum sailing draft that affects this port, compared to other Upriver ports, is considered of less importance because vessels will have to complete at the sea ports anyway. There has been an increase in vessels calling there. Please consider that tugs are required to berth and unberth. These are usually paid for by Shippers and/or Charterers.
Spare parts: The restriction placed by the Government on inbound flights is causing huge problems on the logistics for delivery of spare parts to vessels. With a cap of 600 passengers per day, the international flights in to Buenos Aires International Airport are down to 2 or 3 per day. Aircraft are using all cargo space for luggage and little space is left for cargo.
Bunkers in Argentina: As from Friday July 30th vessels proceeding from Upriver ports to completion at Bahia Blanca are now allowed to lift bunkers at Zona Comun on the outbound passage from Upriver ports. Pressure from suppliers at Zona Comun brought about this change. Nevertheless, bunker requirements at Bahia Blanca are intense and forward booking is required since the single supplier there is Trafigura.
Covid-19: The Local Governments are slowly lifting restrictions on movement in the cities and entertainment facilities are extending their closing hours. Schools are returning after the winter break to full strength class room levels. We have elections in September and November. Entry to the country is restricted to Buenos Aires International Airport only and not more than 2 or 3 full wide bodied aircraft per day.
LNG Carriers: With present winter weather LNG carriers are calling more frequently at Belen de Escobar in order to inject natural gas into the network. These vessels are given priority by CoastGuard River Plate Traffic Control when both in and outbound. When these vessels navigate between Recalada and Escobar, on the Mitre Canal, traffic in the opposite direction is stopped for up to six hours. This may cause delays to vessels. It is expected that in some weeks this may occur up to three times a week.
Pilots and traffic in the River Plate: There is a shortage of personnel due to Covid-19 related issues (either being infected and under quarantine or detected as close contacts and therefore being isolated). Please bear in mind that delays are to be expected because of this. Another reason for delays is the traffic of LNG carriers which call at Escobar terminal. When these carriers are in or outbound the CoastGuard close traffic between Recalada and Escobar. With an expected 2 or 3 carriers every week delays must be considered.
Crew changes prior arrival in Argentine ports:
The Sanitary Authority have become more strict on health checks for all vessels arriving within the 14 day quarantine period. They are taking special care with vessels that have changed crews in Brazil.
The following list of requirements are asked to be presented prior granting Free Practique:
-Maritime Declaration of health.
-Crew temperature log (every 12 hours).
-Imo crew list (with embarkation date).
-Traveler health declaration.
-Visitor’s log book for last 14 days or last port if more than 14 days of navigation. Including crew interaction with people ashore, giving the purpose of said interaction.
-Owner/Head Owner/Disponent Owner’s COVID-19 plan/protocol.
-Owner/Head Owner/Disponent Owner’s crew change protocol [in foreign countries].
-Owner’s note (with signature and stamp of the Captain and Owners company) clarifying that the crew change was carried out taking all due precautions, etc.
-Medical certificate issued by competent professional.
-Covid test for on signers at port of boarding.
-Sworn declaration of all joining crew including traceability of last 14 days prior boarding, referring to the following:
– Place of residence.
– Places they have visited in the last 14 days.
– Trips they have taken in the last 14 days.
– Type of transportation they have used to go to the airport.
– Layovers [place and time elapsed].
– If any crew member has had any COVID-19 symptom.
Puerto Madryn: Vessels and off shore rigs are using Puerto Madryn’s sheltered anchorage to perform maintenance, hull inspection and lay-up off this central Patagonia port. The port has adequate support facilities. (42°46′S 65°3′W).
Asian Gypsy Moth Inspections in Argentina: Same as is happening in many other countries Argentina has started implementation of inspections on all vessels coming from Far East Pacific ports on account of Asian Gypsy Moth. The inspections are being performed by SENASA (National Animal and Vegetable Health Service). All vessels that have called at ports in China, Koreas, Japan and Far East Russia within the last 24 months (2 years) will have to be reported by Attending Agents to SENASA. If the vessel has called at these ports between April and October she will be inspected. If, during the inspection the vessel is found to be affected by AGM she will need to cleaned by a certified company. This cleaning requires removal of the egg masses and disposal by a certified company. Until this procedure is performed the vessel will not be allowed to sail by the CoastGuard. Inspections are usually performed while vessel is alongside and in daylight hours.
Oil Spill Response at Zona Comun: Once again a group of people are pressuring Owners to take coverage for Oil Spill Response on vessels taking bunkers at Zona Comun. The bunker suppliers and the bunker barge Owners were able to prove to the local CoastGuard Station (PNA La Plata) that present arrangements in place were satisfactory. We draw your attention to this so that bunker suppliers absorb any related expense within the sales contract.
Crew changes Argentina: The borders remain closed and crew changes are not permitted. Limited internal flights are functioning again. These restrictive practices are causing problems to vessels calling in Argentina and undue inconveniences to the crews. Local entities and associations are pressuring for resumption of this “normal” activity.
Crew changes Uruguay: On and Off signing crew are allowed entry into the country under very strict restrictions. On signers must have a prior negative Covid 19 test 72 hours prior being allowed entry. Crew members boarding are not allowed to stop at any stage between landing at the airport (Montevideo) and boarding the vessel. Once onboard the vessel they must comply with a 14 day quarantine onboard before being allowed to work. Departing crew must proceed directly from the vessel to the airport. Considering that there are at the moment few international flights these requirements make it very difficult for crew members to enter or leave the country. Additionally to this before a boarding crew member is allowed permit of entry the agreement of Sanitary Authority, Immigration and CoastGuard must be obtained.
The best way of achieving a successful crew change at Uruguay is to have the vessel do this OUTBOUND at Recalada/Montevideo anchorage when the vessel’s schedule is not bound so much by weather and port congestions.
Crew changes Chile: Chilean colleagues have supplied us with the following detail to proceed for crew changes in Chile:
Kindly note a protocol has been issued to allow crew changes while our borders are still closed for non Chilean citizens, here you will find requiring points to be complied with:
Authorities are allowing for crew members to disembark and take their flights from Chile to their final destinations with following conditions:
• Providing all information about the intended disembarking to the Health, Maritime, Migration Authorities via Agency at least 72 hours in advance including names, citizenship, passport number, name of vessel, and full repatriation flight schedule (attached file with data requested).
• Completing a 14 days quarantine period on board in good health condition since the vessel sailed from the last foreign port prior to disembarking in Chile.
• Submitting the on-line affidavit for travelers to prevent Coronavirus diseases (attached).
• Not presenting any symptoms of COVID19 (Health Service may order a health check at any time)
• Moving directly from the disembarking port to the airport or designated sanitary residence (in case 14 days of quarantine not completed). Max. period permitted in the hotel is 5 days.
• Wearing personal health protection items such as face mask, face shield, gloves and hand sanitizer while in our country.
We need to send to Ministry of Transport a few points (attached file with data requested).
Once received and double checked, they will send the approval to Consulate where joiner will come from.
The crew member must going personally to the respective Consulate, for taking a picture, fingerprint.
If all going well, the consulate will notify to Immigration, Health Service and sanitary borders, that crew member can travel and get in to Chilean territory.
Along with this a safe-conduct document will be provided. This document will be mandatory and must be presented on arrival to Chile.
IMPORTANT: Only crew members who does not require Chilean visa to come to Chile can apply to safe-conduct.
Once arrived to Chile.
At any time, must wear facial mask and carry own protective items for COVID-19
Immigration would check that all documents are in order, if so, will be provided the SHORE PASS (crew member immigration card).
The Health Inspector will make an evaluation of crew health, if do not have any symptom of COVID 19, her entry will be granted.
In case to have any symptom or to result positive in the preliminary Covid test, would be isolated and the entry would be denied.
Transportation from International airport to the port must be exclusive. So, domestic flights are not permitted and either intercity buses service (commercial).
Also important for both, on signers and off signers, is to have tentative flight schedule (complete route), this is necessary to start formalities with authorities.
We estimate about 5-7 business days to complete formalities.
Will keep you posted.
Antares Servicios Maritimos S.A.
For more information