Japan Crew Change Requirements: Covid19 Test For Filipino Seafarers Before Departing for Japan

Japan Crew Change Guide for Seafarers


The IMMAJ JAPAN Mariners’ Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ) has issued another circular (English translation see below) to its members last 25 August 2020 regarding the requirement for foreign seafarers to undergo COVID19 testing before departing for Japan. The circular is a follow-up to IMMAJ circulars previously shared to PJMCC members thru Memo Circulars No. 25-2020 (issued 22 July 2020) and No. 28-2020 (issued 18 August 2020).


The following is the summary of the circular:

1. Certificate of negative COVID-19 test result

  • Foreign crew members coming to Japan will be required to submit the “Certificate of Testing for COVID-19”, using the prescribed form (SEE BELOW) to prove negative test results. This is effective from arrivals on 01 September 2020.
  • The test needs to be conducted within 72 hours before departure for Japan, and there is a section in the form to write the date the result is delivered, and the date and time the sample is collected.
  • As written in the form, acceptable tests are the nucleic acid amplification test (real time RT-PCR), nucleic acid amplification test (LAMP method) and antigen test (CLEIA). No antibody tests are allowed.
  • Also required is either a doctor’s signature or an imprint of a seal of the institution where the test was conducted.
  • Please see BELOW “Certificate of COVID-19 testing” for more information.


2. Easing of restrictions on entry of crew members tested negative - From 1st September, seafarers who confirmed the negative results for the tests conducted before departing for Japan, and at the arrival in Japan, will be allowed to enter Japan for crew change, even when a member of the group he/she traveled to Japan with was tested positive at the arrival in Japan.

NOTES, UPDATES & CLARIFICATIONS AS OF 27-August-2020
AS PER IMMAJ, JAPAN QUARANTINE AUTHORITY CAN ACCEPT ANOTHER CERTIFICATE FORMAT PROVIDED ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION ARE COMPLETE AND ARE WRITTEN USING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE/ALPHABET.

Main points for clarifications:

  1. For certificates, any form is ok as long as it covers the same items covered in the prescribed form.
  2. A copy of the original certificate is allowed, but it must be on paper, as it needs to be submitted to an immigration officer on entering Japan.

Re: Covid-19 Test for Foreign Seafarers before departing for Japan (Additional information)


COPY OF LETTER FROM IMMAJ SECRETARIAT

Re: Covid-19 Test for Foreign Seafarers before departing for Japan (Additional information)

August 26, 2020

To all members


Thank you for your continued support.


Please find below additional information regarding the subject matter as follows (confirmed by the ministries / agencies in charge through the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) ):


1. Format of Certificate of COVID-19 Testing


Any format can be used as long as it has the same contents as those in the prescribed form.

All the following items must be covered and written in English.


  1. Personal information of an applicant (name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, sex)

  2. Proof of authenticity of the COVID-19 test result (test method (only limited to the test method mentioned in the prescribed form), test result, date (and time) of sampling, date of test result, date of issuance of the certificate)

  3. Information of a medical institution (name of a medical institution (or name of a doctor), address of a medical institution, stamp seal of a medical institution (or doctor’s signature)


2. Copy of COVID-19 Testing Certificate


As mentioned yesterday, a copy of the original certificate is acceptable. However, it must be on paper as it needs to be submitted to the immigration officer when entering Japan. Please note that entry to Japan will not be allowed, if for instance a photo of the certificate is presented on smartphone.


The Maritime Bureau of the MLIT confirmed with the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, that the procedures written in "Re-entry of foreign nationals with the status of residence" on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs apply to foreign seafarers.


Please access the URL below and refer to "1. Additional Quarantine Measure".


https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page25e_000334.html


If you have any questions, please contact us below.


Secretariat

Email: info@immaj.jp

TEL: 03-5213-4962


Update on latest requirements for Crew Change in Japan Ports effective Sept 1, 2020

 

As of                               :           03 September 2020

 

 

Please be guided of the latest requirement for crew change in Japan Ports effective September 1, 2020 which requires RT PCR Test conducted within 72 Hours from the date/time of receipt of the SWAB Specimen by the laboratory until the date of departure from the point of hire.  The crew is also required to stay in a single room quarantine facility after swabbing until he is transported direct to the airport to board his flight to Japan.

 

In addition, the certificate of negative COVID test result in any form used by the DOH accredited laboratory will be accepted by the Japanese Authority provided it includes the below listed information:

 

  1. Personal Data
    • Full Name 
    • Passport Number 
    • Nationality 
    • Date of Birth 
    • Sex
  1. Results
    • Sample (Nasopharyngeal Swab or Saliva)
    • Testing (Real Time RT-PCR or LAMP or CLEIA) 
    • Result
    • Sampling Date and Time
    • Result Date
    • Date of issue of the certificate
  1. Institution
    • Medical / Laboratory Institution
    • Address of the Institution
    • An imprint of a seal or Signature Authorized by Doctor

 

ALL license manning agents are enjoined to strictly comply with these Japanese requirements in order to prevent the deployment of any Filipino Seafarer infected by COVID-19 upon testing at the point of entry in Japan.  Eliminating or drastically reducing positive COVID-19 cases upon entry will prevent or make Japanese Authorities continue to open their ports for crew changes.

Source: JOINT MANNING GROUP (JMG)

Memorandum-Circular No. 058-20

 

______________________________


SAMPLE PCR TEST RESULT CERTIFICATE

DOWNLOAD HERE: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jf92aDZ9pSLbgaSoo0gBYBrlrTfgxZBh/view?usp=sharing



RELATED ADVISORY

PHILIPPINE-JAPAN MANNING CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL, INC.

Memo Circular No.    :        028-2020


As previously informed in PJMCC Memo Circular No. 25-2020 (issued 22 July 2020), the International Mariners’ Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ) has requested its members to consider having their joining crew undergo RT- PCR testing and obtain negative results, prior to their departure for Japan for crew change. This is because of the rising number of cases that have been reported, where joining seafarers are tested positive for PCR testing, undertaken upon their arrival in Japan.  It was also mentioned in the memo that should this situation continue, crew change in Japan going forward may become difficult, as the government may tighten the control of foreign crew entry.

 

In view of the above, please be informed that IMMAJ has issued another circular (English translation attached) to its member-Principals last 17 August 2020 regarding joining Filipino crew's PCR testing and isolation, and PJMCC was asked to share the same to its member-manning agencies. The memo contains the following requests:

 

v  The Philippine seafarers coming to Japan for crew change must undergo PCR testing before leaving for Japan, as much as possible 72 hours before the departure, and carry a document certifying that the result was negative (test result notice etc.), being ready to present the document in Japan if necessary. Please note that the negative certificate of antibody test is not accepted by Japanese immigration authorities.

v  To prevent seafarers from being infected with COVID-19 after the PCR test, make sure the crew members are in principle isolated in accommodation facilities, and do not use public transportation to travel.



RELATED ADVISORY FROM AIRLINES


ANA Advisory
ANA2070-20200904
Update No. 03 as of 04 SEP 2020 3:00 PM

Dear Travel Partners,

Thank you very much for your continued support for ANA.

Please be reminded of the following:

1) Changes to Entry Handling in Japan for Sea Crew Passengers
Effective September 1, 2020, sea crew passengers who will join a ship in Japan will be required to present COVID-19 test results certification with the following information upon check in at Manila:

  • Personal information (name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, sex)
  • COVID-19 inspection certification
  • Sample (Nasopharyngeal Swab, Nasal Swab, Saliva)
  • Test methods (NAT(real time RT-PCR test), NAT(RT LAMP test), CLEIA test)
  • Result must be NEGATIVE
  • Sample Date/Time (It must be within 72 hours before departure.)
  • Date of inspection result decision
  • Date of inspection certificate
  • Medical institution information
  • Medical institution (or doctor's name)
  • Medical institution address
  • Medical institution seal impression (or doctor’s signature)

All passengers are subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival at Narita or Haneda Airport. In case of positive results, the person(s) who tested positive will be sent to a medical facility.

Please encourage your customers to check their own health condition before boarding the flight. ANA is not liable for any applicable fares, charges, and expenses incurred by the passengers as a result of refusal of entry into Japan.
2) Transit in Japan
Passengers transiting in Japan to a third country are not required to present COVID-19 test result certification upon check in, and they do not need to undergo COVID-19 tests and / or quarantine procedures in Japan. (Transits at Narita airport must be done on the same calendar day.)

However, if they are unable to board their connecting flight for any reason, they will be refused entry into Japan and will be sent back to their place of departure on the next flight.

Passengers shall pay applicable fares for the return flight, or any security fee, to return the passengers to their place of departure. ANA is not liable for any applicable fares, charges, and expenses incurred by the passengers as a result of refusal of entry into Japan.

Please ensure that all requirements of the country of final destination are met and that coordination is done, particularly in cases of itineraries with multiple airlines.
3) Documentation Requirement
Please ensure that the sea crew passengers have complete documentation on hand before going to the airport to facilitate smoother check in procedures.

Documents include, but are not limited to, the following
  • COVID-19 test result certification (if required by country of final destination)
  • Please make sure that the time of testing is within the requirements of the country of final destination.
  • printed copy of their OEC for submission at the check-in counter
  • letter of guarantee issued by shipping company or manning agency
  • seaman's book
  • crew ID card or letter certifying passenger is traveling as ship's crew
We continue to entreat everyone to keep safe by frequently washing your hands, maintaining social distance, and keeping up to date with news from verified sources.

Thank you.

ANA Manila Sales Team


FURTHER ADVISORY FROM THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan


Process and Required Documents for Re-entry

1. Additional Quarantine Measure

Upon re-entry, negative COVID-19 test result conducted within 72 hours of the departure time is required.

  • This format (Word) filled and signed by a medical institution is considered to be valid. So, in principle, please use this format.
  • If the applicant cannot find a medical institution which accepts the above mentioned format, a document in an optional format with all the required information in English is acceptable, though omitting any of the information listed in below may result in denial of permission to entry into Japan in accordance with the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
  • (1) personal information of an applicant (name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, sex)
  • (2) proof of authenticity of the COVID-19 test result (test method (only limited to the test method mentioned in the format), test result, date (and time) of sampling, date of test result, date of issuance of the certificate)
  • (3) information of a medical institution(the name and address of a medical institution /the name of a doctor/stamp seal(or sign by doctor))

Applicants are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result (or copy) to quarantine officer when arriving at Japan. After that, please submit that as well as “Re-entry Confirmation Letter” to immigration officer.
If applicants cannot submit these documents to immigration officer, the applicants are denied entry into Japan based on Ordinance for Enforcement of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. If applicants enter Japan with false documents, their status of residence is revoked and they could be subject to deportation based on Ordinance for Enforcement of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
When applicants are required to show a COVID-19 test result by airline staff before leaving for Japan, please follow the instruction.
If a PCR test for asymptomatic person is not available in the country/region of your residence, please be noted that the applicant is required to stop at a third country where it is available before leaving for Japan.

2. Necessary process and documents

The applicant is required to go to a Japanese overseas establishment where you reside to obtain the Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Necessary Documentation for Re-entry into Japan (hereafter referred to as “Re-entry Confirmation Letter”).
Following documents are required for the application.

  • Passport with valid re-entry permit including special re-entry permit
  • Residence card issued by the Japanese authority
  • Application Form (PDF) Open a New Window

The applicant will be contacted once “Re-entry Confirmation Letter” is ready. The applicant or a representative of the applicant can obtain “Re-entry Confirmation Letter” at the Japanese overseas establishment. This process is free of charge.
Please be noted that “Re-entry Confirmation Letter” is not issued on the same day of the application.




___________
NOTE: The purpose of this post is for immediate information only when conducting crew change or replacement of Filipino crew / seaman at above mentioned Port / Country. This is also for guidance of crewing officers, crewing manager & crew operation staff, especially for ship manning agent in the Philippines. Above information is based on collected data only. Please send inquiry to your crew handling agent for updated information. Please also share your updated information on the comments section.

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