Information regarding Covid-19

Last updated July 29th, 2020.

We will be updating this web page regularly with information we feel may be important to you, but we take no legal responsibility for the information provided.

Letter from the General Manager

Dear customers,

At this time, we would like to update you on the latest developments regarding the Corona virus situation and how we at GAC Norway are adapting to be able to provide you with the same great service during this challenging period.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has still implemented restrictions for gatherings, arrangements, distance and movements.

More information is available at the websites of The Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Loading/unloading operations at terminals and flow of goods across borders is not affected by this decision but certain precautions have been implemented to avoid HSSE issues related to the Coronavirus. We have a logistics and freight department ready to handle your ships spares and freight needs by air, sea and land.

The authorities are still to some extent encouraging people to work from home. GAC Norway has a social responsibility to follow these directions from the authorities and have implemented home office for most staff. Some employees still need to go to work. Therefore our offices and warehouses have implemented extra precautions to ensure we are compliant with the Norwegian Institute Of Public Health’s guidelines, advice and instructions to avoid further spread of the virus.

GAC Norway has advanced IT systems and our employees have all the equipment they need to execute the job the way you are used to. We can assure you that our service level will not be affected by this situation and we will be cooperating closely with all our customers to solve any new challenges related to the Corona virus.

To safeguard the health and well-being of our employees, our customers and our customers’ staff, we will in this special situation not board your vessels. Necessary paperwork needs to be handled electronically.

The contents of this letter may change or be updated if/when the situation changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our local office handling your port call.

If you need assistance with freight, please contact logistics.norway@gac.com

Best regards,

Mikael Rødseth
General Manager
GAC Norway

Crew changes

  • The Norwegian government continues measures implemented March 16th 08:00 and with latest updates valid from July 22nd.

Information from the Norwegian Police Authorities

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, new regulations have been issued regarding arrivals to Norway. Persons who arrive to Norway from another country must go into quarantine for 10 days after arrival. This applies to everybody, both those who are not ill and those who have signs of airways infection.

Shore leave is generally permitted and must adhere to the regulations for quarantine (ten day rule). Some industrial terminals might have stricter regulations, mostly for practical purposes, e.g. limited internal transport and access via gate.

Truck drivers and other persons involved with transport of goods or passengers are exempted from these rules. But they must travel straight to their planned destination and should avoid close/physical contact with others as far as possible.

Foreign crew who enter or leave a ship at a Norwegian port must travel straight to the planned destination and minimize close/physical contact with others. The travel must be in an infection control-responsible manner, according to guidelines from the Directorate of Health.

Crew and passengers, who leave the ship and thus are obliged to enter quarantine, may travel to their planned destination and comply with quarantine restrictions there. The travel must be in an infection control-responsible manner, according to guidelines from the Directorate of Health. However, if somebody has an airways infection, that person should be isolated as soon as possible and use of public transport is forbidden. In such cases, the Health Care and the Police must be notified before they leave the ship.

Offsigners and onsigners

Crew change is permitted in Norway and basically the same regulations apply as before Covid-19 outbreak. For some offsigning crew and nationalities under ILO 108/185 convention (mainly Filipinos), transit flight via Amsterdam from Norway without Schengen visa can be accepted by Immigration. Crew still under quarantine are allowed to travel directly between ship and airport and may also use domestic transit flights. Crew are also allowed to stay in hotel close to terminal or airport in case they have to wait for vessel or flight. In principle they can stay in a hotel for several days (no formal limit), but immigration will as a rule require a confirmed flight (even if it is subject to cancelling or change). Immigration and crew change regulations might be subject to local variations. It is therefore always recommended to check with the agent for each scheduled crew change.

Norwegian authorities and ports do not have any requirements for Covid-19 health certificate.

Only crew that have been outside the countries that are not exempted from the ten day rule will be denied shore leave until the ten days have passed. After ten days since last being in a “red” country they will be granted shore leave.

Crew must travel directly to the destination with limited stops and minimize close/physical contact with others. The travel must be in an infection control-responsible manner, according to guidelines from the Directorate of Health. If accommodation is required, hotels following the quarantine regime, or defined as a quarantine hotel by a local medical officer, is the only option. Vessels need to confirm that the offsigning crew are symptom free and have no airway infections and must have knowledge of the crew’s whereabouts for the last ten days.

Crew with symptoms or airway infections will be isolated as soon as possible. Public healthcare and police must be notified before leaving the ship. Contact your agent as early as possible.

Offsigning crew with expired Schengen visa

Crew with expired Schengen visa after 12th of March 2020 can still transit in Schengen area (as Force Majeure) as long as they have confirmed connecting flights in transit country. This is basically subject to a previously scheduled travel prior to the expiry date of the visa.

Special quarantine transport and quarantine accommodation arranged by agent will apply for on- and offsigners. Such transport and accommodation must be the most convenient place between port and international airport. See the section Guidelines for quarantine transport for details.

Domestic flights are allowed between port and international airport, but direct flight to and from an international airport is recommended, provided availability.

The following airports normally have direct flights out of Norway:

  • Oslo
  • Stavanger
  • Bergen
  • Trondheim
  • Tromsø
  • Sandefjord

International flights are still limited and restrictions apply, changes, including shutdowns, of international terminals may occur on short notice.

Local variations may apply – check with your airline or local agent.

In most areas crew change can be performed offshore by launch, weather permitting, including but not limited to:

  • Vardø area
  • Hammerfest area
  • Tromsø area
  • Sandnessjøen area
  • Ålesund/Kristiansund area
  • Bergen/Mongstad area
  • Stavanger area

Flight information from Avinor.

Keep updated with news from the Norwegian Government.

Guidelines for quarantine transport

Our Commitment

In order to be compliant with all new regulations by the Norwegian Directorate of Health we as agents are expected to risk assess and plan transportation to handle crew change without risking infection.

Quarantine transportation

In order to achieve the above, our transport supplier is expected to:

  • Establish routines to be compliant with the Norwegian Institute Of Public Health’s guidelines, advice and instructions to avoid further spread of the virus
  • Applicable distance and barriers between each passenger and driver
  • Provide minimum 2 meters between each passenger
  • Establish routines and have equipment for disinfection of the vehicle

Additional reservations

  • Normal “Meet & Greet” in arrival halls / ports with signs
  • Passengers must handle own luggage / baggage in and out of the vehicle
  • No unnecessary stops are allowed
  • For longer driving distances, passengers are expected to bring own supplies of food and drinks for consumption during the transport. This must be purchased prior to meet & greet in the arrival hall or provided on board the vessel for offsigners
  • If hotel accommodation is required, hotels must be under the quarantine regime and according to guidelines set by the Norwegian Institute of Public health.

GAC Standard

To safeguard the health and well-being of our employees, our customers and our customers’ and suppliers’ staff we need to take extra precautions to ensure we are compliant with the Norwegian Authorities’ guidelines, advice and instructions to avoid further spread of the virus.

We kindly ask you as our valued supplier of transport services, to confirm the above guidelines to: qhsse.norway@gac.com

Shore leave

Shore leave is in general permitted and adheres to the regulations for quarantine (ten day rule). Some industrial terminals might have stricter regulations, mostly for practical purposes, e.g. limited internal transport and access via gate.

Please contact your agent for local regulations, as this may change rapidly.

GAC as «agent only»

OKTB/LOI will be issued as normal, as long the above crew procedures is in place.

We need to receive written confirmation (self-statement) that crew is symptom free of Covid-19. The same applies for off signers.

Norwegian authorities and ports do not have any requirements for crew to have a Covid-19 health certificate in order to sign on or off

All delays and cost will be for the owner of the vessel in full.

Visitors, services and inspections

This is generally allowed, but some local restrictions may apply. National guidelines for Covid-19 applies. Visitors and service personnel will be treated like crew with regards to transport and hotel.

Kindly verify with your agent before arrangements are made and confirmed.

Notification to health authorities

Both ship and port operators are required to immediately notify the health authorities of an outbreak, or suspected outbreak, of the Corona virus on board a vessel. This is in accordance with the Regulations on Alerting and Measures for Serious Events of Importance to International Public Health (IHR Regulation).

If there is any suspicion of a possible outbreak of disease, contact your local agent who will assist in coordinating all involved parties.

Important contacts:

  • Notify Vardø Maritime Traffic Center at +47 78 98 98 98 for assistance in notifying the municipal doctor / municipal consultant in the municipality the vessel first arrives.
  • Notify the Public Health Institute at +47 21 07 70 00 (during working hours) or at +47 21 07 63 48 (infection control guards).
  • Medical ward: 116 117

Further handling of the matter lies with the health authorities.

The IHR regulations allow the health authorities to take action against persons, including the quarantine of vessels.

Please note the following:

General regulations specify that ships cannot be refused to arrive at a port, unload or load cargo or storage for public health reasons, and shall be allowed to board fuel, water, food and supplies (§ 17). The Port and Waters Act also does not provide grounds for denying this.

However, the quarantine regulations have precedence over the Port and Waters Act in cases of possible outbreak of disease.

Cruise and passenger vessels

Passenger transport is limited and with local port variations, but cruise ships may be able to come alongside for provisions, water supply, garbage removal and crew changes. Passengers and crew can leave ship under the present shore leave and quarantine regulations. Stricter local regulations might apply as enforced by the district medical officer and Port authorities.

Information from GAC worldwide

See news and updates from GAC worldwide