Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Marine Notice 16 of 2020, concerning COVID-19 related measures taken in the maritime sector, has been updated to take account of the Government’s essential worker guidance. Setting out the need to keep supply chains moving, also included is a link to frequently asked questions in the maritime sector related to the coronavirus.

The notice reads as follows:

It is recognised that maritime transport plays a crucial role in the supply chain, particularly to an island nation such as Ireland. This Marine Notice sets out the measures that have been taken to date to protect the maritime transport supply chain, guidance that has issued to supply chain workers and other COVID-19 related updates in the maritime sector.

Any specific queries in relation to COVID-19 and measures to mitigate its impact on the maritime transport sector should be sent to maritimecovid@dttas.gov.ie. All other general queries in relation to the maritime sector should be sent through the normal channels of communication.

Marine Notice 06 of 2020 issued on 12 February 2020, last updated on 27 March 2020 and kept under constant revision, sets out procedures to be followed for submission of Maritime Declarations of Health and crew and passengers lists for all ships arriving in Irish Ports. In addition, the notice sets out procedures to be followed where there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on board.

Marine Notice 14 of 2020 issued on 20 March 2020 sets out the temporary contingency measures for the extension of seafarer documents. A general extension of 6 months from the date of expiry has been provided for Irish issued seafarer Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency which expired or are due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020.

An extension of 3 months has been provided for medical certificates where a seafarer is unable to secure an appropriate medical examination by an approved doctor. Flexibility has also been provided to shipowners and seafarers to extend a seafarer’s employment agreement by up to 6 months in agreement with both parties where the maximum period of service has been reached or repatriation is proving too difficult due to travel restrictions.

Marine Notice 15 of 2020 issued on 23 March 2020 sets out temporary contingency measures in relation to surveying and certification of ships. An extension of 3 months is provided to ship certificates for ships involved in international voyages where survey, verification and certification is not possible due to restrictions on personnel movements and travel.

The extension also applies to intermediate/renewal surveys. Surveys for vessels involved in domestic voyages will be considered on a case by case basis as will surveys and certifications for new build ships under the Irish flag. The notice also sets out advice on the issuing of ships radio licences and servicing of life saving equipment.

Guidance on COVID-19 and the protection of supply chain workers is available on the Government’s website here: Guidance for supply chain workers

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued an information notice for ALL landings into Irish Fishery Harbour Centres which is available here: Fishery Harbour Centres

The EU Commission has also issued guidance on the implementation of “Green Lanes” and border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services which is available here: EU Commission Guidance

This makes reference to travel restrictions, quarantine procedures and the recognition of professional certificates of competence for transport workers including seafarers, for facilitating travel.

The National Public Health Emergency Team, NPHET at their meeting on Tuesday 24th March 2020, agreed that cruise ships will not be permitted to enter any Irish port or anchor in Irish waters.

Guidance has been issued from the Department highlighting that every element of the supply chain is a vital link in ensuring a continuous flow of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where practical, all goods should continue to be distributed to the greatest extent possible.

All supply chain workers are considered essential even if they are not dealing with essential goods. The Guidance is available here: Importance of maintaining all links in the supply chain

To assist stakeholders and the public with issues that may arise, the Department has developed a Frequently Asked Questions guide on COVID-19 related issues in the Maritime Sector.

This Marine Notice will be updated as necessary to reflect any further measures put in place or guidance issued.

The notice is also available here: Marine Notice 16 of 2020