RDIMS No .: 18910780
Date (Y-M-D) : 2022-09-23
This bulletin replaces Ship Safety Bulletin No. 12/2022
To provide guidance regarding the mobility of asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying* seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
*Asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying refers to a seafarer who has not tested positive for COVID-19; is not exhibiting any COVID-19 signs or symptoms; has not been in close contact in the past 14 days with anyone suspected of/confirmed as having COVID-19; nor is awaiting test results themselves from having been tested for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
This bulletin provides guidance related to:
- International crew changes
- Domestic crew changes
- Exemption from quarantine plan requirement for asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying seafarers - both Canadian and foreign nationals.
The marine transportation sector provides a vital service to all Canadians in ensuring that goods (e.g., food, medicine, supplies to the health care sector, and other essential products) arrive safely in our ports. This applies to domestic and international trade.
1. International crew changes
Crew changes are regular occurrences in the marine sector. Once seafarers finish their required sea service, they travel home and a relief crew must replace them. These exchanges are critical to ensure the flow of marine trade.
The following Order in Council, and any Order that replaces it, apply to seafarers on vessels arriving in Canada:
Subject to meeting certain conditions as outlined in the above-referenced Orders in Council and in any Orders that replace them, seafarers who travel to Canada to perform their duties are allowed to enter Canada, and board an international flight destined to Canada. Seafarers providing an essential service do not need to be considered a fully vaccinated1 traveller to enter Canada, although the preference is for all travellers be fully vaccinated.
Note that travellers CANNOT board a flight/enter Canada if they have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever and cough or a fever and difficulty breathing, or if they know they have COVID-19, or if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19 (Please consult the Government of Canada webpage entitled, Covid-19: Travel, testing and borders). This information has been disseminated to all airline carriers. Similarly, crews on foreign vessels in Canada who must disembark to return home:
- must not have reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19,
- must not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever and cough or a fever and breathing difficulties,
- must not have COVID-19.
Refer to the “Exemption from quarantine plan requirement for asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying seafarers - both Canadian and foreign nationals” section of this bulletin for information on quarantine measures.
Crew that do not have reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19, that do not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever and cough or a fever and breathing difficulties, nor have COVID-19, are permitted to transit to an available airport for the purpose of crew change-over to the extent allowed as outlined under applicable Government of Canada Orders in Council.
The Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order, made under the Quarantine Act, requires foreign nationals seeking entry into Canada to be a fully vaccinatedFootnote 1, with limited exceptions. If an individual meets a limited exception under the Order, such as seafarers, then they can still board an inbound flight as long as they provide the air carrier operating the flight valid evidence that they received a pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test or a COVID-19 antigen test. Test result must meet one of the following:
- COVID-19 Molecular Test:
- negative COVID-19 molecular test result performed by an accredited laboratory or testing provider within 72 hours of the initial scheduled departure time OR
- previous positive molecular test result taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before the individual’s initial scheduled departure time. Counting starts the day following the day of testing. This accounts for those that had contracted COVID-19, have recovered, but may still be testing positive due to lingering amounts of the virus in their system.
- COVID-19 Antigen Test:
- negative antigen test result performed by an accredited laboratory or testing provider no more than one calendar day before the initial scheduled departure time.
Note: Self-administered molecular tests and antigen test results are also accepted. These tests must be observed by an authorized entity, the results verified, and the requirements noted above are followed. Positive antigen test results are not accepted regardless of whether they are performed or observed by an authorized entity.
Effective June 20, 2022, the Interim Order for Civil Aviation Respecting Requirements Related to Vaccination Due to COVID-19, No. 3 no longer requires a person, within Canada, to be a fully vaccinated traveller in order to board a flight.
2. Domestic crew changes
Canadian vessels operating domestically should follow the advice of their employer, and direction from provincial and territorial health measures and authorities.
Anyone who has close contact with someone who has, or is suspected to have, COVID-19 should self-isolate for the duration and manner specified by the applicable local health authority.
3. Exemption from quarantine plan requirement for asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying seafarers - both Canadian and foreign nationals
As of September 15, 2021, asymptomatic seafarers are exempt from the requirement to have a quarantine plan on arrival in Canada; however, they still must provide relevant information, including travel and contact information through the ArriveCAN mobile app (iOS or Android) – this declaration has been mandatory since November 21, 2020 and must be done 72 hours prior arriving in Canada.
Exchanges in personnel and movement of marine sector employees are critical to the flow of marine trade, community resupply and marine safety and security.
The following persons arriving on commercial vessels are exempted from mandatory quarantine provisions for COVID-19 pursuant to the Quarantine Act orders on the condition that they do not have reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19, that do not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever and cough or a fever and difficulty breathing, nor have COVID-19:
- a member of a crew as defined in subsection 3(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations or a person who enters Canada only to become such a member of a crew;
- a person who is re-entering Canada after having left to participate in mandatory training in relation to the operation of a conveyance and who is required by their employer to return to work as a crew member on a conveyance within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which they return to Canada; and,
- a person or any member of a class of persons for whom the release from the requirements to quarantine, as determined by the Minister of Health, is in the national interest, if the person complies with all conditions imposed on them by the Minister of Health to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19.
In addition to the federal prohibitions on entry and quarantine plan requirements at Canadian international borders, provinces and territories may have established their own health measures.
Learn more about:
- COVID-19: Contact your local public health authority
- COVID-19: How to quarantine or isolate at home
- How businesses and employees can stay safe while operating during COVID-19
- Testing for COVID-19: When to get tested and testing results
For more information, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.
Marine transportation workers should carry with them documentation for identification purposes. For marine crew, it can include the Seafarer Identity Document, issued in accordance with either the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 1958 (ILO Convention No. 108) or the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 2003 (ILO Convention No. 185), a Certificate of Competency, a letter from a shipping agent, or a discharge book. For other marine workers, proof of employment, such as work orders, should be carried to demonstrate the purpose of the travel is essential for the operation of a vessel.
2. Essential services
Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:
Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8
Contact us at: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).