July 04th 2021
Pilots and traffic in the River Plate
*** HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY TO ALL OUR FRIENDS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ***
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.
National Holidays: July 09th, Independence Day.
River Parana Dredging. Hidrovia: In the process to change or renew the dredging and buoying contract that expired during April this year the National Government announced the issuing on Thursday, July 01st of the formal decree by which the Tolls that were paid to Hidrovia S.A. will now be collected directly by the State via AGP. AGP (Administracion General de Puertos S.E.) is the “residual” state entity that used to administrate the remaining dock area in the port of Buenos Aires that had not been privatized in the 1990s. The AGP will then administrate the funds and pay for buoying and dredging between Recalada and Santa Fé. This will be done by Hidrovia S.A. with the equipment used over the last 25 years.
Initially the plan is to tender for a short (1 year) contract to maintain the requirements up to now, and over the coming year draw up the new specifications for a longer term contract which will hopefully allow for extended crossing areas, better draft and an improvement of traffic between Recalada and Santa Fé.
River Parana draft: The River Parana draft is not expected to improve over the coming three months. Projections issued by the National Water Institute (INA) are pessimistic. Please see the table below:
LDC Gral Lagos Berths: The CoastGuard have just issued a new maximum permissible sailing draft for LDC Lagos berths, Dry and Liquid after the dredging work that took
place last week. This is published in our Daily Draft Report.
Wheat 2021/2022 Harvest: The sowing of the wheat for the 2021/2022 harvest is progressing. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange informs that at this time 86 per cent of the forecast 6.5 million hectares have been sown. This is an increase of 5 per cent of the area compared to the previous wheat season.
Covid-19: The Government has further restricted the closure of borders in order to try and contain the entry of the new variants of Covid 19. As from Sunday 27th only 600 passengers are allowed entry per day though the single nationwide entry port, Buenos Aires International Airport at Ezeiza.
Winter weather delays: Winter weather is now affecting services at Recalada, Necochea and Bahia Blanca. Recalada pilot services are closing frequently either due to storms and winds or due to fog at the pilot boarding area. Necochea has re-opened after being closed for 48 hours. Pilot service at Bahia Blanca is suspended frequently due to bad weather.
Labor situation: Very strong labor unrest continues through out the country. The Government’s unskillful procurement of vaccines is added to strong inflation and claims by unions for wage adjustments. In order to try and contain inflation the Government tries to regulate and inevitably causes that all parties increase pressure. Various Chambers of Commerce have issued communiqués asking for all parties to seek peaceful resolution before going on strike.
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.
Necochea and Bahia Blanca: Both Bahia Blanca and Necochea stevedores are demanding a 14 day quarantine for vessels calling at these ports. The 14 days are counted as from the day of departure from the last foreign port of call. This period to count even if the vessel has been granted Free Practique and called at another Argentine port. These are local issues and must be solved locally. Meetings with the unions have been held, but so far no agreement has been reached.
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH US BEFORE FIXING VESSELS ORIGINATING FROM BRAZIL, CHILE AND URUGUAY.
Bahia Blanca dredging: At the moment two dredgers are working on the access canal of Bahia Blanca. This is maintenance work and navigation is not expected to be interrupted.
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 be fumigated 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