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Accordingly, the "COVID-19 Guide for Ship/Shore Interactions" is focusing on mitigating unnecessary face-to-face contact between ship and shore personnel during loading/unloading operations while still ensuring compliance with mandatory documentary exchanges and procedures.

To remind, the shipping of solid bulk cargoes is based on several mandatory checks and exchanges, as required by the BLU Code and IMSBC Code. Some of these exchanges are conducted prior to the ship's arrival, and some are carried out jointly by master or chief officer and terminal representative on board after the ship has berthed.

Now, the recently-launched guidelines in line with flag state and port state COVID-19 protocols will ensure that the loading and unloading operations of solid bulk cargoes will be conducted properly, safely and in compliance with IMO regulations.

The guide supports 'Do More Before' and advises personnel how they can do more to minimize face to face contact before the ship arrives.

The IMO recommends that Ships and Ports use electronic means to exchange and view documents to reduce face to face interactions during the COVID-19 crisis. With the co-operation of the Ship’s Agent, almost all of the required information can be exchanged, reviewed and completed via email, phone or VHF radio BEFORE the ship arrives.

Therefore, master must confirm to the terminal that the ship:

  • Has submitted a Maritime Declaration of Health to the relevant port state authorities
  • Has been granted Free Pratique
  • Is complying with Covid-19 guidelines issued by flag state and responsible authorities of port to be visited, and WHO, as appropriate
  • Has trained all crew members in Covid-19 ship/shore protocols
  • Is using hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing precautions
  • Is ensuring crew members on gangway and cargo watch duty wear required PPE at all times
  • Will re-confirm health status of all crew before any shore personnel go on board
  • Will hold all essential meetings with shore personnel in Tally Clerk’s office or other suitable location on deck
  • Is maintaining this space in a sanitized condition at all times
  • Has provided telephone numbers or radio channels for master, chief officer / duty officer


Terminal personnel should not board any vessel unless and until the above arrangements are agreed by email with the ship, via the ship’s agent, in advance of ship’s arrival.