April 18th 2021
Tugboats work to rule
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.
Tugboats work to rule: As from Monday April 12th the tugboats are limiting working hours to 12 hours per day. Starting at 0700 until 1900 hours. This is nationwide action and the only exception is the port of Buenos Aires. Additionally they will not be rendering “special” services, such as assistance during groundings or accompanying vessels.
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.
Argentina/Brazil Maritime Traffic: The treaty that governed maritime traffic between Argentina and Brazil was denounced (voided) by the Brazilian government. Due to this, as from February 05th 2022 maritime traffic between Argentina and Brazil will be open to all vessels. This means that, unless something changes during that period, it will be no longer necessary to obtain “flag waivers” for cargo loaded between the two countries. Up until now the only cargoes exempted from this requirement were wheat, crude petroleum and iron ore. As from February 05th 2022 all cargoes will be open to all vessels.
Bunker delivery at Zona Comun: A recent ruling has been issued by Customs that is hampering delivery of bunkers at Zona Comun for vessels proceeding from Upriver with completion at Bahia Blanca. The ruling considers that this “intermediate” delivery of bunkers enables vessels to trade within Argentine home waters with the supposed “benefit” of not paying local taxes from which bunkers for export are benefitted. It is believed that this ruling is put forward by commercial interests in Bahia Blanca so as to “corner” the market in their benefit. Vessels proceeding to complete in Necochea are not included in this ruling since it can be proven that there is no bunker supply (FOIL) in Necochea and that delivery at Zona Comun is therefore the last possible alternative. Arguments can be put forward to Customs in cases where it can be proven that the delivery is necessary due to not enough fuel available onboard the vessel to reach Bahia Blanca safely. We suggest that in cases where bunkers are considered for delivery at Zona Comun, for vessels proceeding via Bahia Blanca, that this be broached with eventual bunker suppliers.
River Parana Draft: According to estimates issued by the INA (National Water Institute) the average sailing draft is expected to stabilize around 10.10 meters fresh water for April, May and June. For the maximum River draft to be at 10.36 meters (34 feet 00 inches) the River height has to be over 2.00 meters. Please see the table below prepared by INA (Instituto Nacional del Agua).
Covid-19 Quarantine Restrictions (Update): As from midnight, April 15th, the Greater Buenos Aires area went into lock down for at least two weeks. Schools are closed and no circulation in the streets is allowed between 2000 and 0600 hours. Upriver, Necochea and Bahia Blanca for the moment are not included. The maritime industry is not affected as it is considered “essential”.
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 (attached examples).
-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.
Necochea, Pier 12(Fertilizer Terminal): The CoastGuard have now allowed an increase in the maximum LOA for vessels to berth at Pier 12 (Fertilizer Terminal) in Necochea. The previous maximum allowed was 170 meters.
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 will also start implementing inspections on all vessels coming from Far East Pacific ports on account of Asian Gypsy Moth. The inspections will be performed by SENASA (National Animal and Vegetable Health Service) as from April 12th, 2021. 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 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. The first inspection at Upriver is yet to be performed. We shall keep you posted.
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. Internal flights are functioning again but the borders remain closed for crew changes. 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.
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