Greater ChinaOperationsShipyards

Owners urged to carry out surveys outside of China as tough new quarantine measures come into place

Ship repair and general drydocking operations have become more tricky in China, where authorities are introducing many measures to halt the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19.

The Dalian local government has just introduced measures whereby surveyors attending ship repair and drydock facilities have to live in a defined inclusion zone for the duration of the ship repair. This requires surveyors to quarantine for the duration of the work, typically two to three ​​​​​weeks depending on the refit.

Once the work is finished, surveyors are then required to spend 14 days in centralised quarantine in a government facility followed by a further seven days of home quarantine. The quarantine measures are expected to tie up many surveyors for far longer periods, leadings to a shortage of qualified personnel.

“These new regulations apply to all service suppliers and will affect all survey and inspection activity,” class society Lloyd’s Register stated in an update.

Dalian is not alone in China in bringing in these new restrictions. A host of other port cities have similar measures including quarantines for crews depending on the crew nationality and where the ship has called prior.

China dominates the ship repair sector, accounting for 10 of the top 12 largest yards. Clarksons data shows Chinese repair yards accounted for 49% of global repair events in 2020.

Shipowners are being advised if at all possible to postpone or organise surveys at other ports outside of China where survey attendance does not warrant quarantine.

The beefed up anti-Covid measures in China are also having significant impacts on port calls, leading to greater congestion.

Since July 20, community-spread infections have been confirmed in more than half of China’s provinces, sparking mass testing operations and localised lockdowns.

Most ports in the country are now requiring a nucleic acid test (NAT) for all crew, with vessels forced to remain at anchor until negative results are confirmed.

The Chinese mainland on Sunday reported no new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, the National Health Commission said in its daily report on Monday. Sunday saw 23 new imported cases however.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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