BIMCO is providing members, quick and practical guidance on how to handle the COVID-19 outbreak.

How you can protect yourself from Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the leading organisation providing information and guidance including recommendations on how best to minimise the risks of contracting this disease. On 11 March, WHO declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic. 

In light of this declaration, BIMCO is providing members, with some quick and general advice  to remind members, their ships and crew on how they can bolster their disease preventive measures. The best preventive measure is to approach this outbreak with a sense of awareness:


  • Wash hands frequently and apply other measures of good and strict personal hand hygiene when hand washing is not an option
  • Be careful when handling cash, as it frequently changes hands
  • Maintain a safe social distance – WHO recommends at least 1 metre 
  • Follow general WHO guidance


  • Implement frequent disinfection cleaning processes of contact surfaces, e.g.:
    • Door frames and handles
    • Keyboards for instrument and equipment interfaces
    • Handrails including gangways
    • Ladders
    • Staircases
  • Implement frequent health checks of crew by medical officer on board (temperature reading and general condition of crew)
  • Implement procedures for isolation of infected or suspected individuals onboard.

Ship-Port Interface

  • Implement procedures for communication with the following in cases of health issues onboard, in port and/or at sea: 
  1. DPA (designated person ashore)/Company
  2. Agent
  3. Local Heath Authorities 
  4. Radio Medical Assistance

In order to assist members on how the above can be administered in a practical way,  BIMCO is providing the shipping industry with free posters in black and white to be printed and used onboard ships at the following suggested locations:

  • Shoreside of the gangway (A3 / A4)
  • Shipside of the gangway (A3 / A4)
  • Various locations in the accommodation (A3 / A4)

We all have a shared responsibility in containing the outbreak to the best of our intentions and BIMCO encourages our members to share these posters throughout the industry.

Issues with coronavirus (COVID-19)

There is no doubt that this outbreak has impacted the shipping industry to a large extent; not to mention commercially with disrupted supply chains and the associated effects on supply and demand. In response to the outbreak spreading from mainland Chinese port states, port authorities have imposed restrictions with varying degrees of impact. The most commonly used restrictions are: 

  • Declaration on health
  • Temperature measurements
  • Information on sick or deceased crew or passengers
  • Information on previous port calls
  • Information on crew’s or passengers’ travel history

The consequences depend very much on the port state. It ranges from quarantine of individual crew members or passengers to quarantine of the ship until the expected incubation period of 14 days has passed. Based on reports and circulars received by BIMCO,  there is an increase in imposing quarantine restrictions and prohibiting of shore leave and crew changes.

To get the latest update of which restrictive measures are imposed, BIMCO would urge members to go to our designated restrictions page for guidance.