Bunkering operations at Hong Kong will be affected by stricter Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) measures from Wednesday (29 July) onwards, learns Manifold Times.
The Centre for Health Protection, an agency under the Department of Health in Hong Kong responsible for disease prevention and control, on Sunday (26 July) issued a circular to the maritime community.
“With effect from 29 July 2020 until further notice, only goods vessels with cargo operation will be allowed to enter the Hong Kong waters for crew change and [sic] exempted from compulsory quarantine,” it said.
The development meant vessels coming to Hong Kong port only for bunkering operations will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine in anchorage once they get into Hong Kong waters, confirmed local bunker players.
The Hong Kong Government on Sunday announced that crew change arrangement for passenger vessels and goods vessels without cargo operation in Hong Kong would be suspended with effect from July 29.
The testing and quarantine arrangement for sea crew members of goods vessels coming to Hong Kong for cargo operation, air crew members and other persons exempted from quarantine requirement (exempted persons) arriving Hong Kong will be tightened.
It said the changes were essential for maintaining the necessary operation of society and the economy, and for ensuring an uninterrupted supply of all daily necessities to the public.
“Goods vessels coming to Hong Kong for loading and unloading of cargos are essential for the supply of daily necessities and services to Hong Kong, including daily goods, food, anti-epidemic supplies and medical materials, with a view to maintaining the smooth operation of Hong Kong,” said a spokesman.
“As such, the Government considers that crew members of these cargo vessels should be exempted from compulsory quarantine to allow them to undergo crew change in Hong Kong. We believe that after tightening the relevant conditions, public concerns about the public health risks can be suitably addressed.”
He added, “On the premises of protecting the health of Hong Kong people and safeguarding Hong Kong’s robust healthcare system, further to the announcement on July 7, we have further tightened the testing and quarantine arrangement for exempted persons arriving Hong Kong in accordance with the actual situation and anti-epidemic need.
“The Government will continue to closely monitor the latest situation of COVID-19 around the world and review the quarantine and testing arrangements for inbound travellers entering Hong Kong from other control points including exempted persons.”
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