In view of expanding the information provided in our previous articles referring to health and sanitary measures adopted by Argentine authorities, aimed at preventing the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the maritime transport industry, and in particular, in our report titled “COVID-19: Operational preventive measures applicable to crewmembers, pilots, and other personnel providing services on board and ashore” (published on March 23rd, 2020), we find it relevant to point out that the Committee of Crisis and Prevention of COVID-19 issued on april 9th 2020, an annex to the Federal Implementation Protocol with the purpose of specifying and extending certain concepts. Here you will find this new complementary information:


Those shipyards performing (or next to perform) repair tasks on vessels affected to essential transport must take the minimum number of workers on board and submit the corresponding COVID-19 emergency plan.

While in repair, the vessel shall only have on board the number of personnel necessary to ensure the operational safety and protection of the ship and the maritime environment, and to cope with emergency situations, which must the reported by the shipowner or charterer before the Maritime Authority (as set forth under Article No. of Annex No. 1 to the Ordinance 05/2018- “Operational Safety Management Practices and Pollution Prevention in Vessels”).

Once the repair tasks are finished, the shipowners or charterers, or their representatives, shall be responsible for processing and submitting the necessary documentation for each of the crewmembers who will embark.

Those crewmembers who will be required to resume their duties —once the ship is in operating conditions— must be duly notify thereof at least 5 calendar days in advance, since they need to apply to the corresponding permission to get to and from the port.


Regarding cabotage, the suggestion of deferring crew changes has been ratified, EXCEPT IN CASES OF EMERGENCY OR FORCE MAJEURE, and upon the appearance of determined special circumstances to be considered:

– mental or physical health problems, accidents, critical family issues, etc.

– units whose size might cause habitability problems during extended periods of time (particularly in port and water activities).

– and other circumstances justifying the emergency.

Such special circumstance must be duly proved and notified, and subsequent preventive quarantine is recommended before embarking again.

While this special health emergency scheme is running, the period of the crew aboard must not be less than 14 days per shift so as to complete a minimum period of quarantine.

Before any crew change, a determined health check and temperature control must be carried out with the purpose of avoiding a crewmember to get on the ship with symptoms of the disease.

Therefore, a medical evaluation certificate and/or sworn statement (prepared at the attending professional’s discretion) and those documents proving the compliance with the health control required by the port terminal or the employer must be submitted before the master or port authority.

In case this mandatory social distancing was extended, the crew changes deferral shall be conditioned to the fact that the chambers/federations/companies, at their exclusive cost and expense, ensure the implementation of specific and conducive measures tending to facilitate the movement —by authorized means of transport— of the affected crewmembers from and to their homes and the ports of embarkation or disembarkation, respecting the corresponding crew changes and heath precautions.

If a crewmember had to disembark due to a duly justified emergency case, any kind of replacement must be avoided unless the number of Security Personnel is affected, in which case it will be completed in coordination with the maritime authority. Those crewmembers appointed to embark must have complied with a full period of mandatory social distancing, avoided contact with suspected cases and present no symptoms of coronavirus, among other potential requirements.

Should any kind of medical assistance be required, it must be carried out inside the vessel, being the shipowners, charters, or their representatives, responsible for coordinating the necessary mechanisms to provide their crewmembers with proper and efficient medical care.

In case the isolation period was to be temporarily completed aboard, either because the vessel is navigating or its conditions are proper for doing so, the master shall guarantee the isolation takes place in a cabin with sanitary facilities, or in a physical space with a closed door and adequate ventilation, regardless of current ordinary procedures to be observed during navigation.

If the ship is at a port, the medical assistance shall be in charge of the local port authority or the company undertaking the terminal operation. This procedure must observe the corresponding Contingency Plan in coordination with the shipowner or charterer and the competent authorities.

If the vessel is anchored or navigating, the shipowners, charterers, or their representatives, will perform the necessary steps to move the patient and facilitate proper health care at an adequate area, reporting the situation to the Maritime and Sanitary Authority of the jurisdiction.

Should the entire crew be affected by the disease and, consequently, relocated to be put in isolation and receive medical care, the unit operation must not be interrupted for a longer period than that necessary. Moreover, the integral cleaning practices on the vessel must be reinforced, shortage must be prevented and the continuance of trade must be ensured.

Under no circumstances shall the shipowners or charterers be exempt from their responsibility of providing assistance to their ship and crew.

Besides, every essential supply and/or request to preserve the crew’s health integrity must be provided.

Medical assistance for crewmembers suffering accidents or any disease causing symptoms different from those of COVID-19 Coronavirus shall be performed in the ordinary and regular way.

For further information, do not hesitate to contact us.

This article is meant to provide the reader with information and it is not supposed to offer legal advice. If you need assistance regarding particular events or legal matters, please, contact your legal counsel.