December 06th – Strike and Ports in Argentina

December 06th 2020

Strike and Ports in Argentina

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.

Strike and Ports in Argentina: The strike affecting Upriver ports was lifted late Saturday night and terminals returned to work during morning hours today Sunday, December 06th. The strikers claim has not been settled with management so a latent problem remains and new strike action may return. At Necochea a settlement was reached so there should not be any problem.

Bahia Blanca: The 14 day quarantine for incoming vessels will be waived for vessels whose last port of call is Brazil, Uruguay or Chile provided there have NO crew changes. Nevertheless the previous regulation for other last ports of call will remain in place. This quarantine can be excepted if the terminal where the vessel will load produces proof that an earlier berthing is required.

River Parana draft/Upriver ports: Nowadays and approx. since mid-2019, there has been a shortage of water in the Parana river (low water level) due to lack of rains in SE Brazil. Back-up effect from the River Plate when wind is from S-SE-E the tide and water level increases, and on the contrary, winds from N-NW-W causes the the draft level to decrease. Reportedly there are again talks about releasing water from the upriver Hydroelectric dams but the scarce rains and the need to keep up the level for power production makes it currently not applicable. Upriver draft, according to latest wind/weather forecast, would be fluctuating around 9,70m – 9,80m until Jan 2021. Dredgers are constantly working on the shallowest passages in order to improve/maintain the best possible draft. Above scenarios(Shortage / Back-up effect) will continue affecting the draft conditions on the low Parana river for as much as 30 to 45 cm variations up or down. This forecast is based on reports issued by the National Water Institute which measures flow and rains. It is advisory in nature. The max recommended draft to navigate the River Plate outbound from Zona Comun to Recalada Pilot Stn is 10.68 meters/35’00”, including bunker supply if any. This in order to minimize waiting time for suitable tide. In case your vessel is going to load or is loading a cargo for Argentina up river ports we are at your full disposal for arrival draft advise, to adjust vessels draft during loading.

LDC Gral Lagos: A new formula has been issued by the CoastGuard in order to calculate the maximum sailing draft from LDC Gral Lagos dry and liquid berths.
LDC Dry: 9.50 meters at zero datum, plus average of the river height measured at Rosario and Villa Constitucion, minus 0.60 meters safety margin.

LDC Liquid: 9.30 meters at zero datum, plus average of the river height measured at Rosario and Villa Constitucion, minus 0.60 meters safety margin.

Basis today’s (December 6th) river level the maximum sailing draft for the Dry berth is 9.36 meters and 9.16 meters for the Liquid berth.

Pilot boat strike: The crews of the pilot boats remain on strike as from December 1st night. Because the service is interrupted the CoastGuard will cover the service with their own vessels/cutters.

Soyoil: China has announced they have purchased 400,000 metric tons of Argentine soya oil.

Flag Waivers Argentina/Brazil: The Government put aside the requirement that vessels needing a flag waiver for cargoes between Argentina and Brazil be nominated 21 days prior commencement of the laycan. This is a very unusual move because the Government has moved directly against the vested interests that were profiting from this requirement.

Hidrovia, new concession 2021 onwards: The Government has eventually called for the first stage of the tender to manage the dredging and buoying of the River Parana. The concession which is now managed by Hidrovia S.A. (Jan de Nul) is due for renewal during the first half of 2021. An announcement initially was that a new Government entity made up of National and Provincial Governments was to manage the tendering and staged concession, but that seems to have been put aside and the call for interests was made directly by the Ministry of Transport. This is what had been called for by exporters and Terminal operators along the River. There still remain essential details of what they wish to achieve in respect of improvements in draft and navigability, but hopefully this will appear at a later stage. An ensuing push with severe diplomatic pressure is expected with various Governments striving for their own national interests is expected. Mainly between Europeans and China.

Covid-19: Slowly the restrictions are being relaxed. Contagion cases are diminishing steadily as we move into summer. Local flights are being resumed and long distance passenger train services started yesterday to limited destinations. Many local restrictions are in place but nationwide we hope to enjoy a respite until either the second wave arrives or we get vaccinated.

Cargill Quebracho, San Lorenzo: Quebracho has advised they will be closing between December 07th and December 13th, 2020 and between January 25th and February 07th, 2021 for routine maintenance and renewal work.

Crew changes Argentina: The borders remain closed and crew changes are not permitted. Despite earlier optimism plans to restart internal flights as from October 01st have been postponed until further notice. On this basis it is difficult to be optimistic regarding the opening of the border restrictions and regular international flights within the coming weeks. The Immigration Department have reviewed the situation, but for the moment there will be no changes.

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.


Before trip

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.

Necochea: Port open since October 05th at 0900 hours. The last closure was on October 02nd at 1045 hours due to 3.00 meter waves and high winds.

Will keep you posted.

Best regards,
Antares Servicios Maritimos S.A.

For more information

Local News