Published: 29 May 2020

Updated: 7 April 2021

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)  was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020. The Club is monitoring the situation, and this Focus page is updated regularly.

A number of countries have implemented travel restrictions or bans, country wide lockdowns, and mandatory 14 day self-isolation or quarantine to try and prevent the spread of  COVID-19. A ‘social distancing’ policy is also being implemented in order to reduce unnecessary contact.

All shipstaff and travellers should be made aware of the risks, symptoms and the actions to take.

Members are advised to review the WHO and local public health authority websites (see below) for the latest advice, and to follow appropriate health advice and guidelines.

Additional information may also be available from:



Typical symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and fatigue. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.



General precautions include:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly when you get home or into work
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • Consider respiratory facemasks and protective eyewear
  • Avoid close contact with ill people, particularly people suffering from acute respiratory infections

The International Group of P&I Clubs have launched a publicly accessible online dashboard which details country and port specific measures in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A special edition of Britannia Crew Watch has been published, setting out the basic facts about the virus, providing some practical advice about how to prevent the spread and what to do to contain an outbreak on board.



Law Firm MFB have provided a brief update on some of the issues that may arise from COVID-19

BIMCO provide advice on charter parties and other contracts in the COVID-19 section of their website

Intertanko has issued Guidance on Chartering Issues relating to Covid-19







Correspondents in China have issued the following Circulars related to COVID-19.



The following organisations also have useful pages on their websites dedicated to COVID-19.

The Club’s Correspondent in the Philippines has issued updated guidance on the conduct of Crew Changes.

Correspondents in Brazil have advised that the Brazilian government has now issued Ordinance n. 652 of 25th January 2021, and the entry of foreigners of any nationality into the country is restricted, by road, by other terrestrial means or by water transport. Exceptions are highlighted in the Ordinance.

Furthermore, international flights to the Federative Republic of Brazil originating in or passing through the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of South Africa are prohibited on a temporary basis.

The entry of crew members who are boarding a ship or platform operating in jurisdictional waters, and entry for medical treatment continues to be permitted subject to specific conditions as detailed in article 3 of the Ordinance.


Enhanced health screening measures, including the use of thermal scanners, are in place for travellers and seafarers who have recently visited or travelled through areas where COVID-19 is prevalent. They may also be required to self-isolate for a period of at least 14 days. Immigration and local health authorities may implement additional restrictions.

Requests for Free Pratique are now required well in advance of arrival, and Masters are required to report any indication that a crew member or passenger may have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, severe coughing, breathing difficulties etc.). Quarantine officers may also board the ship for additional verification checks.

Members are also advised to check with local correspondents and agents for the latest position.



Links to  local public health authority websites for certain ports/countries are given below, and Members can contact the Club for additional information.