Port restrictions prohibiting vessel boarding have been put in place at some locations, but industry sources tell Bunkerspot that, for the most part, survey operations, including bunker quantity surveys, are continuing reasonably well.
Earlier this week (24 March), the Standard Club issued a circular on the situation in some UAE ports, which noted that: ‘Boarding on any vessel by vessel agents/owners/representatives and surveyors will be permitted only in exceptional circumstances and will be subject to prior approval from the Port Authority.’
The Club continued: ‘At present no surveyors are being allowed to board vessels in Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi ports. Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah have not yet restricted surveyors' attendance.’
An industry source at Ras Al Khaimah confirmed that surveyors are still allowed onboard ‘as they are considered a vital part of the operational process.’
He noted that: ‘Draft surveys are necessary to commence and finalise operations so not allowing them on would have a negative impact on the process.’
Cargo and bunker surveys are also going ahead as normal, he said, but emphasised that surveyors must wear full PPE kit, observe sanitising instructions, and temperature testing measures have also been put in place.
Another source said that while most of the ports are running normally, with safety precautions in operation: ‘We are seeing some restrictions being implemented in some minor ports and these include the surveyor only being allowed onto the barge and not the vessel – or in some cases not being allowed into the terminal at all, and Jebel Ali is included in this.’
‘We are maintaining a close watch on such matters via our global surveyor network and thus far, we have stumbled on relatively few issues relating to bunker quantity surveyors boarding vessels amid the COVID-19 outbreak,’ another source told Bunkerspot.
He also noted that, at present, there are no port authority restrictions on surveyor operations at the Port of Fujairah and, he added, ‘The only other restriction that we are aware of is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where they have imposed a curfew from 7.00 pm until 6.00 am.
The situation regarding port operations is obviously changing on a daily basis, and Bunkerspot will be providing updates on any bunkering/surveying restrictions in the coming weeks.