Maritime Safety Queensland has announced that the Australian port of Brisbane will ease 14-day restrictions on foreign ships coming from overseas ports under a new “two port” policy which will take effect from March 23.
Under the new policy, nearly all vessels arriving at Port of Brisbane will now be able to berth and unload cargo provided their crew stay onboard, with the exception of vessels and crew from China and South Korea.
MSQ said it will continue to work with health authorities to monitor the situation in China and South Korea to explore avenues to open up these time-restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.
The decision comes after Shipping Australia hit out at the decision by authorities last week to demand that vessels cannot enter local waters until 14 days have passed since they left an overseas port and argued that the ruling could cause serious supply chain issues for the country.
Since the introduction of its original policy to restrict vessels from all ports, exemptions have been issued for ships arriving from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the South West Pacific Nations and Singapore. Shipping companies will no longer need to request these exemptions under the new policy.
“It can be argued that a policy that requires a long list of exemptions and amendments probably was not a very good policy to begin with,” said Melwyn Noronha, deputy CEO of Shipping Australia.
MSQ has not eased the 14-day restrictions at the other 20 ports in the state of Queensland.