Measures to facilitate continued operation of ships during CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is cognizant of the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and its debilitating impact on the global community. There has been some improvement as some ports across the world have re-opened, and seafarers are being repatriated in some instances. Notwithstanding, numerous seafarers are still facing difficulty at sea, and it is recognized that only a global response will alleviate the hardships seafarers face during this pandemic.
Consequently, in response to the recommendations of the IMO and other global industry stakeholders, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has instituted measures to alleviate the current crisis. These are outlined in this Circular. It is to be noted that the borders of Jamaica have re-opened to facilitate controlled re-entry and transit of persons. As a consequence, the GOJ is taking steps to ensure that the economy returns to normal operations as far as possible. The MAJ continues to provide the full suite of registration, technical and seafarer certification services to clients from its offices in the usual manner, as well as via purpose built electronic platforms.
Vessel Surveys and Inspections
As not all States have re-opened borders, it is recognized that difficulty may still be experienced in having the necessary surveys/inspections conducted. To ensure that vessels continue to support global trade while maintaining the relevant international safety, security and environmental standards, shipowners /operators and Recognized Organizations are required to observe the following:
- Where: the previous extension of validity of certificates to June 30, 2020, has expired, and it has still not been possible for the necessary surveys to be conducted, owners/managers are required to make contact with the MAJ through the associated RO for the further guidance;
- Where flag State surveys and/or inspections become due, owners and managers are encouraged to make contact with the RO. Where there are difficulties, the owners are required to contact the MAJ through the associated RO.
Where the circumstances warrant and there is mutual agreement between the owner and the seafarer the MAJ has no objection to the extension of Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA) to facilitate continuity of trade. However, the MAJ encourages owners, as soon as is possible, to make the necessary arrangements for seafarers to be safely repatriated at the end of their SEA.
As indicated earlier, the Government of Jamaica has implemented measures geared at supporting the repatriation of seafarers and crew changes in general. In particular, the GOJ in the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) (No. 9) Order 2020 which came into effect July 1, 2020 made the following provisions:
- Third Schedule lists Seafarers (at no. 42) among the class of “essential workers” that are exempt from movement restrictions under the Disaster Risk Management Act; and
- In paragraphs 3 on “Requirements for entry to Jamaica” outlined in sub paragraphs 3(6) to 3(11), protocols to facilitate the expeditious movement of seafarers through our borders for the purposes of repatriation/crew changes.
Seafarers wishing to transit Jamaica to join a ship or to return home are required to complete the following two-step process:
- Visit the MAJ website at www.maritimejamaica.com, download and complete the “Jamaica Crew Change Form” and submit by email along with the required supporting documentation to LegalAffairs@jamaicaships.com. This should be submitted at least 48 hours before the intended date of arrival in Jamaica. Approved applicants will be issued with an electronic certificate by the MAJ via email. The certificate contains an address with unique identification number which is needed in the second step.
It is to be noted that this is not an approval to enter Jamaica but rather an indication to the Jamaican border authorities that the holder of the Certificate is verified to be a seafarer meeting the requirements of the Order to be considered for expedited transit through Jamaica.
- The second step requires application for actual travel authorization. The seafarers should visit www.visitjamaica.com website, follow the steps outlined for all non-residents seeking to visit Jamaica. On arrival in Jamaica, the unique number on the Certificate should be provided to the Immigration Authorities to activate the expedited transit status..
Normal procedures for the issue and renewal of seafarers documentation have resumed.
Medical Fitness Certificates
The Jamaica Shipping Act permits a seafarer whose medical fitness certificate expires during a voyage in a location where it is not possible to obtain a medical fitness certificate accepted for working on a Jamaican ship, to continue working for up to three (3) months. Where it was not possible for medical fitness examination to be made in this period, owners and managers are encouraged to contact the MAJ for further advice.
General Queries: email@example.com
1 876 967 1060-5
1 876 434 0888
1 876 551 0685
The MAJ encourages all persons to ensure that the necessary measures are always taken to safeguard the personal interests and those of their communities in general, throughout this pandemic.
July 1, 2020
The Maritime Authority of Jamaica
2ND Floor, The Office Centre Building
12 Ocean Boulevard.
Tel: (876) 967-1060-5
Fax: (876) 922-5765; (876) 922-5766