A. Measures adopted by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works of the Republic of Cyprus
I. Revised Measures on Ports and Port facilities
The Minister of Transport, Communications and Works of the Republic of Cyprus exercising the powers he is vested in according to article 14(1) of the Law on Cyprus Ports Authority 1973 to 2016, has issued on 6 May 2020 revised instruction on the implementation of the restrictive measures to tackle COVID-19 pandemic at ports and ports facilities in Cyprus.
Further to the Directives of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works dated 9.4.2020 to the Cyprus Ports Authority and within the framework of the gradual lifting of the containment measures to deal with the state of emergency in Cyprus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works issues the following new Directives as regards the revised restrictive measures which must be observed in all ports and port facilities, by the Cyprus Ports Authority as well as by the Contractors/Licensees/Port Operators of port services and port facilities:
- Passenger / crew disembarkation: Any disembarkation of passengers and persons who are crew members of any type of vessel, including cruise ships and yachts, for the purpose of visits, short stays or overnight stays in the territory of the Republic is prohibited, excluding crew replacement / change as mentioned in 2 below.
- Crew replacement/change: Persons who are members of crews of merchant ships, cruise ships in decommissioning, yachts and crew members on platforms that carry out exploratory drilling rigs within Exclusive Economic Zones of states with which the Republic of Cyprus maintains diplomatic relations, who are either on boats moored in the ports of the Republic or arrive on flights which, exceptionally, are allowed following a special permit by the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Determination of Measures aimed at minimising the spread of COVID-19) Decrees of 2020 (No.4) are allowed transportation and / or departure from the Republic. A relevant protocol on the procedure that must be followed during crew changes is attached.
- As regards crews of commercial vessels (tugboats, etc.) which have their permanent base in Cypriot ports, insomuch that they perform international voyages outside territorial waters, or voyages within territorial waters and come into contact with other crews or ports abroad, upon return to Cypriot ports, shall strictly comply with the instructions given by the Medical and Public Health Services, i.e. self-isolation for 14 days. All such vessels performing voyages within or outside of territorial waters, insomuch that the same crew members are employees of the company and insomuch that when they serve other ships they do not come into contact with the crews of other ships and do not visit ports abroad, then there will be no obligation to self-isolate.
- Ship decommissioning: The long-term stay of ships in anchorages of the Republic for decommissioning purposes, in readiness conditions (warm lay-up), on the basis of the availability of slot for anchoraging for decommissioning purposes and on the basis of the characteristics of the ships, is permitted. It is understood that passengers or crews may not be disembarked for reasons other than for crew replacement/change purposes as referred to in 2 above.
- Military Vessels: They may be docked after Notam Verbatim, but their crews may not be disembarked except for replacement/change as mentioned in 2 above.
- Moving of private vessels for maintenance and repair purposes: Private vessels may move between authorised berths within the territory of the Republic for maintenance and repair purposes.
- UNIFIL: It is permitted to move members of the UNIFIL Command force based in the ground installations of the port of Limassol. As regards the crews of UNIFIL vessels, it is only allowed to disembark for direct transport to an appropriate hotel inland for selfisolation and for their replacement/change as referred to in 2 above.
- Emergency medical situations: In the event of emergencies (emergency medical situations) for a sick passenger or a sick crew member, either at anchorage or in port, agents exceptionally and due to the emergency medical situation will be entitled to make the necessary arrangements for the transport and care of the patient, provided that they consult, in advance, with the Medical and Public Health Services and inform the Cyprus Ports Authority.
- No one is allowed to embark on any vessel for any reason apart from conducting activities which relate to cargo operations. It is permissible for stevedores, lashersunlashers and Ships/Cargo Surveyors to embark on vessels for conducting cargo operations with the prerequisite that the master shall undertake to isolate/restrain the crew and send a written confirmation to the Cyprus Ports Authority or to the Contractors/Licensees/Port Operators of port services and port facilities, that the crew is in self-isolation order within their cabins and no contact shall incur with the abovementioned personnel during their stay on board the vessel. It is understood that if their activities can be conducted electronically (signing of certificates) they are prohibited from boarding. It is further clarified that the same applies for surveyors involved in the administrative part of operations. Namely, only those who conduct operations relating to sampling checks and measurements (i.e. bunkering) may embark. It is further understood that stevedores, lashers-unlashers and surveyors must strictly adhere to the rules of self-protection/hygiene (masks, gloves, keeping necessary distance of 1-2 metres from each other, washing hands etc.) before their embarkation and after their disembarkation from the vessel, as per the guidelines for embarkation and disembarkation of navigators in paragraph 12.
- In case there is a need for an inspection of a berthed vessel on the quay by crew members, only one member of the crew may disembark for a short period of time, provided that the ship’s agent informs the Cyprus Ports Authority or the Contractors/Licensees/Port Operators of port services and port facilities, in order to remove the persons working at that time in the specific part of the yard, as well as the Cyprus Port and Marine Police for on-site presence and supervision.
- Provisions/Supplies: Crew must self-restrain in their cabins during the ship’s provision process. The Captain is responsible for confirming, both to the Ship Agent and the Cyprus Ports Authority or the Contractors/Licensees/Port Operators of port services and port facilities, that there will be no physical contact/interface of crew with ground personnel. It is understood that providers/suppliers will place the supplies on the quay, at a point near the ship to be indicated, and after they have evacuated the area, the crew will be allowed to approach and load the supplies to the ship. At anchorage, provision is permitted, provided there will be no physical contact/crew interaction with the providers/suppliers.
- Instructions for boarding and disembarking vessels:
i. Before navigators board the pilot boat:
a) Hand washing before use of equipment (masks, gloves).
b) Installation/application of equipment (masks/gloves) before boarding the pilot boat.
c) Using masks with respirator-filter (type FFP2).
d) Use of disposable gloves.
e) Always have an antiseptic solution with at least 60 % alcohol content so that in case the gloves are distorted during the manoeuvre, they may be disinfected.
ii. Boarding the ship:
f) A distance of at least 1 meter from any person shall be kept.
g) The ship’s bridge shall accommodate the minimum necessary number of people.
iii. Disembarkation of Navigators from the pilot boat:
h) Gloves, masks are removed in the appropriate way.
i) They are dispensed at the end of the manoeuvre as quickly as possible, in a bin on the quay that shall be placed for this purpose and definitely before entering the offices or interacting with any other persons.
j) Hand washing and antiseptic use.
13. Those who have no other option but to board a ship for operations – such as Port State Vessel Inspectors or Ship Inspectors, or Technicians necessary for conducting inspections or other qualified persons for supervision of unloading machines (e.g. bulk cargo, oil products) as well as inspection of equipment and safety incidents – must comply with the applicable instructions relating to boarding procedures mentioned in paragraph 12.
14. As regards persons who remain on board, irrespective of the duration, such as the “Mooring Master”, for transhipment operations of petroleum products from ship to ship – “STS Operations”, and specialised persons for unloading petroleum products at power stations) , the following should be adhered to:
a) Certification by the ship carrying the cargo that there has preceded disinfection of the person’s/persons’ living space (cabins). Where it is possible, such cabins should be single to double.
b) Clarification whether a personal toilet is available for such staff. In the case of a positive response, the personnel will remain isolated in their cabins without contact with the ship’s crew and will use the personal toilets exclusively and strictly adhere to the personal protective/health measures. In the event of a negative response, the ship must designate a separate toilet for the persons, for which it will also have to certify its prior disinfection.
c) The person(s) should carefully remove the personal protective/health equipment after completion of supervision and before entering the cabin. When leaving the cabin and if they are to come into contact with the ship’s crew, personal protective/hygiene equipment should be available for change in the cabin. The final removal of personal protective/health equipment will take place as recorded in the guidance for navigators (i.e. once they reach land).
d) Special attention should be paid to avoiding the unnecessary stay of any personnel of the ship near the Mooring Master/Specialised Persons. E. As far as the issue of nutrition is concerned, it is recommended that they carry the necessary supplies for his/her stay on board with him/her. In case anything additional is needed, it will be left outside the cabin for them and strictly keep hands clean.
15. Crew shall be prohibited from disembarking and performing work on the quay for purposes of maintaining the ship, e.g. painting, washing a vessel, etc.
16. Those entering ports and port facilities should adhere strictly to the instructions of the Medical and Public Health Services in relation to the use of personal protective/health equipment. It is understood that requests for exemption from the application of any of the above restrictive measures submitted to the Cyprus Ports Authority will be forwarded by the Cyprus Ports Authority to the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works for consideration and decision after consultation with the Minister of Health of the Republic of Cyprus.
II. Crews change Protocol
- Crew change is allowed in the following categories of ships:
a) Crew members of commercial ships.
b) Crew members that work on platforms that are currently conducting research drilling works within the exclusive economic zones of countries that the Republic of Cyprus has established diplomatic relations with.
c) Crew members of cruising ships that are currently laid-up.
d) Crew members of recreation ships.
- For a crew change to take place, the following rules apply:
a) Those persons have to remain in self-isolation for 14 days before entering the Republic of Cyprus. The attached document will have to be completed as a confirmation of the above.
b) They have to have taken the coronavirus molecular test before their arrival or –if this is not possible- immediately after their arrival and the result should be negative.
c) The company that employs the said crews and/or the agent that has undertaken the crew change has to take the necessary action for the transportation of the crew directly from the ship to the airport and the transportation of crews arriving by plane to the port of departure under strict protection measures.
d) If the arrival of the ship and the arrival of the flight cannot be synchronized, the company and/or the agent has to make the necessary arrangements in cooperation with the authorities for the accommodation of the crew in particular shelters where they are going to stay isolated until the arrival of the flight or the ship.
e) If the results of the molecular tests are still pending, the company and/or the agent has to make the necessary arrangements in cooperation with the authorities for the accommodation of the crew in particular shelters where they are going to stay isolated until the announcement of the results.
f) Whenever possible, the crew that is going to disembark shall remain on board until the date of the flight.
g) Persons that work as crew members in ships that are docking at Cyprus ports and those persons are going to disembark from the ship in order to leave the Republic of Cyprus and the arrival of the ship cannot be synchronized with the arrival of the flight, the company and/or the agent has to make the necessary arrangements in cooperation with the authorities for the accommodation of the crew in particular places where they are going to stay isolated until the arrival of the flight. For those persons, points (a) and (b) above do not apply.
- Procedure at the airport:
a) The crew changes shall be realized with flights specifically chartered for this purpose either by the agent or the ship-owner and/or those organized by the Republic for the repatriation of Cypriot citizens in the event there is space available.
b) Within the premises of the airport, all the safety and protection instructions have to be implemented.
c) The use of a mask is compulsory while all the measures of hand sanitization will have to be implemented. Staff members in the airports and other people within the premises should keep the distance of 2 metres from each other.
d) The transportation to the airport has to be completed within reasonable time as required by the instructions provided by the respective airline before the embarkation at the airport.
- Procedure at the port:
a) Members of the crew that are going to enter the port of the port facilities for reasons of embarkation/disembarkation to/from the ship will have to follow strict protection measures.
b) The use of a mask is compulsory while all the measures of hand sanitization will have to be implemented. Staff members in ports and other people within the premises should keep the distance of 2 metres from each other.
c) The transportation to the port has to be completed within short time in relation to the embarkation time and provided that the ship is due to the embarkation of the crew.
d) The disembarkation shall take place only at the presence of the transportation vehicle which is going to transport the crew to the airport or to the designated shelter according to the case.
e) The embarkation of the new crew shall take place only after the previous crew has left, unless this cannot take place for security reasons.
f) Any additional instructions provided by the manager of the port and the Cyprus Ports Authority as regulatory authority shall be strictly implemented.
- Transportation process
a) Transportation from and to the destination, according to the case (port, airport, hotel) shall be conducted under strict rules.
b) The transportation process shall be direct and no intermediate stops will be allowed. Disembarkation from the bus/shuttle is not allowed unless there is an emergency.
c) The type of bus/shuttle chosen will depend upon the number of passengers and in relation with the rules in force implemented within the Republic.
- Further instructions:
a) When, according to paragraph 2(b), a coronavirus molecular test is deemed necessary during the arrival of the crew members in the Republic, the company and/or the agent shall make arrangements through a relative agreement with the laboratory and take all the necessary actions for the direct transportation of the crew to a laboratory where the molecular test is to take place, in compliance with the procedure set out by paragraph 5, before the crew is transported to the shelter.
b) In the event that the use of specific shelters is deemed necessary in accordance to paragraphs 2(d) and 2(e), the company and/or the agent will have to provide the appropriate shelter and the relative arrangements should be made for the accommodation of the crew, where the crew members should stay in isolation for the time required according to each case.
c) The expenses of the ticket, bus/shuttle, use of protective measures, molecular testing and crew members accommodation in shelters shall be covered by the company/agent.
B. Measures adopted by the Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus (‘SDM’)
I. Procedure for facilitating crew changes within the framework of the gradual relaxation of the Restrictive Measures applicable during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Pursuant to, Decrees No. 20 and No.21 of 2020 issued by the Minister of Health (on the determination of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19), crew changes are possible at Cyprus ports provided certain conditions are met.
More precisely, on 14 May 2020 the SDM issued the Circular 12/2020, through which informed all owners, bareboat charterers and managers of ships flying the Cyprus Flag about the procedure for conducting crew changes in a practical and effective way, in accordance with the above Decrees and the revised instructions of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, dated 6 May 2020, for the operation of Ports and Port Facilities as well as the related protocol for crew changes.
According to the said circular:
a) Interested companies must address electronically all requests for crew changes to the Shipping Deputy Ministry to the following email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. All such requests will be assessed by the SDM and, upon their approval, will be referred to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works (MTCW) for granting the necessary approval of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works to perform a flight.
b) The above arrangements will apply provided the provisions of the Decrees No. 20 and No.21 of the Minister of Health (on the determination of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19) as issued on 30 April 2020 and 05 May 2020, as well as the provisions of the Protocol for crew changes issued by the MTCW, are met.
Requests concerning crew changes need not be registered on the online platform connect2cy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which operates for the purpose of providing assistance to Cypriot citizens or permanent residents of Cyprus in emergency situations.
Crew change requests involving Cypriot citizens who wish to remain in the Republic of Cyprus should be addressed to the Ministry of Health for handling.