Letter from the General Manager
Letter from the General Manager
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.
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 usually 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 email@example.com
Testing and documentation
Testing and documentation
Covid-19 test: Refers to both PCR and antigent rapid test unless otherwise specified.
Any documentation has to be in Scandinavian, English, German or French language to be valid in Norway.
For Norwegians or other persons living or residing in Norway there are no restrictions for boarding or entering a vessel (except terminals’ or vessels’ restrictions).
- The Norwegian government continues measures implemented March 16th 08:00 with latest updates valid from January 29th 2021.
Information from the Norwegian Police Authorities and Immigration
Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, regulations have been issued regarding arrivals to Norway. Persons who arrive to Norway from another country must, as a governing rule, go into quarantine for 10 days after arrival if arriving from a «red» country. This applies to everybody, both those who are not ill and those who have signs of airways infection. The status of which countries that are «red», will be subject to change on a regular basis. As per January 29th 2021 all countries are «red» (high infection rate) with very few exceptions.
Shore leave is as a principle permitted, but must adhere to the regulations for quarantine (ten day rule). Crew under quarantine are not allowed general shore leave ( but can work on ship/shore at the terminal). Some industrial terminals, Immigration and Health Authorities might have stricter regulations, in some cases for practical purposes, e.g. limited internal transport and access via gate.
Truck drivers and other persons involved with transport of goods or passengers («key workers») are partly 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 are defined as key workers and when they 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.
Onsigners will be subject to Covid-19 test on arrival at the Norwegian border (entry by air, sea or land). If it is not possible to conduct this at the border, it shall be done as soon as practically possible. This is most relevant for crew signing off (entering by sea) as most airports and border road crossings have test stations for crew signing on. This test can be both an antigen rapid test or PCR. PCR is only for persons that have been in some countries for the last 10 days with a high rate of mutant strains (amongst them UK, Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal). This test can cover the mandatory test for crew within 24 hours after arrival in Norway, but the border test will only be advised to the crew if they have tested positive and only by SMS, usually 48 – 72 hours after the test has been taken. This test is taken by PCR only and by public medical staff and is not very well suited for non-Norwegians or any crew that needs a test result and documentation before embarking the vessel.
Mandatory testing for crew
Two tests are required for crew embarking and one test for crew disembarking.
a) On arrival at the Norwegian border and within 24 hours after arrival in Norway. It can technically be the same test, but in order to adhere to the requirement of a confirmed negative for crew prior to embarking, two tests will be required to obtain a negative certificate. For offsigners (entering by sea) one test as soon as practically possible after disembarkation is required. The crew can leave Norway without waiting for a result (unless the airline or country of transit or destination have other or additional requirements).
b) 72 hrs after arrival in Norway for crew embarking a vessel
A vessel will as a guideline not be held back by authorities waiting for these tests. However, the owner of the vessel has a responsibility to plan according to the regulations, at least for the first test (at the border/24 hours). A ten day combined quarantine ashore and onboard for crew after arriving Norway applies. Agent will arrange approved quarantine hotel and test. All crew must document their place of stay during quarantine, e.g. the hotel. We recommend that the agent sends a written confirmation to the crew with the name of the hotel and booking reference if required. The vessel itself can also serve as a quarantine place on arrival, provided the vessel has a single and separate cabin, separate toilet and separate dining facilities and the crew is separated from other persons on the vessel.
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, healthcare services and the police must be notified before they leave the ship.
Border entry and registration in Norway
With effect from January 29th 00:01, strict regulations for border entry are enforced in Norway. This registration shall be done online if possible at entrynorway.no
Alternatively registration shall be done by a form handed to the border control (note that this might delay travel).
As a rule, all entry to Norway from a «red» country by land, sea and air is not permitted, except for Norwegians or persons that reside in Norway, but with some exceptions:
Seafarers: Crew can embark or disembark a vessel in a Norwegian port (Seafarer’s ID is required)
Persons with critical functions or «key workers»: Persons that carry out critical work, service or inspections of a vessel. This is a strict definition and can not be used for routine work or work that can be postponed.
The owner of the vessel will have to define if the persons are regarded «critical» and can enter Norway and the vessel. He/she will need to carry relevant documentation from his/her employer as proof of the work that is to be carried out. It will be under the authority of the immigration and/or health authorities whether or not to admit this person at the border for entry. A critical worker can also be allowed to sail with the ship if required, even without a seafarer’s ID. He/she will then be treated like a seafarer with regards to immigration and embarkation.
We suggest the use of persons already residing in Norway for this type of work.
Offsigners and onsigners
Crew change is permitted in Norway and basically the same immigration regulations apply as before Covid-19 outbreak. For some offsigning crew and nationalities under ILO 108/185 convention (mainly Filipinos, Russians and Indians), transit flight via Amsterdam from Norway without a 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 a hotel close to the 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 cancellation 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 for crew before entering Norway, but we as agents will recommend a C-19 certificate if possible, no older than 72 hours prior to arrival, max 24 hours if possible.
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. This is done by issuing a MDOH and reporting via SafeSeaNet (pilot order).
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.
Visitors, inspectors and service personnel arriving from «red» countries or areas to attend a vessel
They will generally be subject to the same regulations as crew (key workers), for the travel between ship and airport/border, but only if they are essential and absolutely critical for the operation and maintenance of the vessel and the health of the crew. For immigration, travel and quarantine purposes the persons will have to bring a document from their principal stating their type of work to be carried out on the vessel.
All critical visitors and inspectors should bring a C-19 test taken max 24 hours prior to crossing the border or entering the first flight in transit to Norway. They will also be subject to the test on arrival in Norway, but they do not need a negative test prior to entering the vessel, although it is strongly recommended. In some extremely urgent cases the test prior to arrival can be skipped, provided proper documentation is presented at the border (e.g. urgent repairs of vessel due to breakdown of engine).
Offsigning crew without Schengen visa
Crew of a nationality that have signed the ILO 108 or 185 treaty, can travel without Schengen visa via a non-Schengen country to and from Norway (on/off). This crew will, when signing off, usually be allowed to travel via a Schengen country also without a visa, but we as agents can not guarantee this travel. It has however been a common practice, normally always via Amsterdam. This practice is only to be used if there is no other reasonable or practical possibility for them to travel according to the standard guidelines. For onsigners, we can not assist crew from our side with travel via Schengen without a visa. For non ILO 108/185-nationality-crew, a Schengen visa can be applied for, but we can not guarantee that the application will be granted by Immigration as this is case by case-related.
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:
International flights are still limited and restrictions apply, changes, including shutdowns, of international terminals may occur on short notice.
The Norwegian Border Control (Police) and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration cannot instruct any airline with regards to their flight regulations and restrictions, even if they are stricter than the national guidelines.
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
Guidelines for quarantine transport
Guidelines for quarantine transport
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.
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
- 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 their 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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"
GAC as «agent only»
OKTB/LOI will be issued as normal, as long the above crew procedures is in place, as a verification for the nature of the travel and the place to stay (quarantine), and should be issued by the agent in order to ensure smoothest possible arrangements, even for crew and persons from the EU/EEA/Schengen area. LOI should also be issued by agent for visitors (all non-crew) for smooth entry at the border and to support documentation from the employer.
We need to receive written confirmation (self-statement) that crew is symptom free of Covid-19. The same applies for off signers.
All delays and cost will be for the owner of the vessel in full.
Notification to health authorities
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.
- 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. For master and/or agent.
- Notify the Public Health Institute at +47 21 07 70 00 (during working hours) or at +47 21 07 63 48 (infection control guards). Normally, all contact will be handled via agent.
- Medical ward: 116 117. Normally, all contact will be handled via agent.
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
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.