US Orders Vessel Crew Restrictions in Wake of Coronavirus

February 5, 2020

Commercial ship crews who have been to China within the past 14 days — or who are working on a ship that has been in China within the same period — will be required to remain aboard the vessel upon entering the United States except to conduct activities directly related to cargo or provisioning operations.

In a marine safety bulletin issued by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) on Monday, the agency also warned that passenger vessels, or any vessel carrying passengers, that have been to China or embarked passengers who have been in China within the past 14 days will be denied entry into the United States. The directive does not apply to crews, passengers or ships that have been to Hong Kong or Macau.

“The Coast Guard considers it a hazardous condition … if a crew member who was in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the past 14 days is brought onboard the vessel during transit,” the bulletin stated. “This requires immediate notification to the nearest Coast Guard Captain of the Port,” it noted, adding that the temporary measures “are in place to safeguard the American public.”

The precautions from the country’s top maritime regulator follow declarations on Thursday by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that China’s coronavirus outbreak is considered a public health emergency.

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Source: American Shipper