On the 23rd May 2020, the Ports and Yachting Directorate within the Authority for Transport in Malta (the Maltese Port Authorities) published Port Notice 09/2020 entitled COVID-19 Temporary Precautionary Measures – Framework of Protocol for Conducting Maritime Support Services. This Notice is further to Port Notice 06/2020, which was previously issued by the Authorities on the 26th March 2020.
Port Notice 09/2020 was issued by the Maltese Port Authorities following consultation with the Port Health Office. It creates a framework of protocols that must be respected when maritime services providers in Malta are engaged to conduct various maritime support services.
Ships, yachts and all other vessels intending to obtain services in Maltese waters or within ports and harbours must seek prior port clearance. If cleared, vessels will be required to follow the protocols established in the said Port Notice.
Interestingly, the previous blanket ban on all yachts from entering Malta has been lifted. Yachts requesting permission to enter Maltese waters for services and ships requesting to enter Malta to carry out maintenance will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If and when approved, protocols and other conditions that must be followed by the vessels will then be communicated to the local agents by the Port Health Office.
The Notice also provides for an exemption to the otherwise applicable travel ban in cases of crew repatriation and likewise in cases of “ship operations”. Requests will be referred to the Superintendent of Public Health for consideration and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If approved, protocols and other conditions that must be followed will be communicated by the Port Health Office.
by Dr Jotham Scerri Diacono and Dr Jan Rossi, Ganado Advocates