Covid-19: United States

  • Houston
  • New Orleans
  • New York/ Newark
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angles/ Long Beach ports

Houston

As of March 23rd, In support of Federal, State, and local restrictions being implemented to address the public health emergency and community spread of COVID-19, all maritime crew will be remanded to their vessels until further notice. 

CBP will work with carriers on a case-by-case basis on temporary shore leave requests for such reasons as but not limited to humanitarian, shore side business critical to the safe operation of the vessel, legal, medical, etc. At this time, crew sign-offs (D-2) will still be reviewed and granted if the crewmember has direct and continuous travel out of the United States, the crewmember is not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the crewmember has valid travel documents, and there is no other restriction on the crewmember’s travel. 

Please continue to notify the CBP Fusion Desk as well as the boarding officer before inspection begins of any crew repatriations planned in the Houston/Galveston Area Port. You will be provided with instructions on any additional requirements in place at that time. 

Please note, due to evolving travel restrictions worldwide, this activity is subject to change on short notice. A trade notice will be sent if CBP Houston/Galveston Area Port implements any major changes. 

All entrance, clearance, and crewmembers requests will still be routed to the Fusion e-mail inbox at HOUSTONSEAPORTFUSION@cbp.dhs.gov . Local questions regarding issues related to this notice should be directed to Assistant Port Director Greg Vawter or a Watch Commander at 713-454-8002. 

New Orleans

In order to mitigate the threat of transmission of COVID-19 to the Lower Mississippi River maritime community, the Captain of the Port New Orleans recommends the following precautions be taken prior to and during vessel voyages. For vessels not requiring Pilots, the intent of the precautions remains the same and can still be applied.

  1. In the hour prior to Pilot boarding, wipe down the entire bridge with a 5% solution of bleach water. (Chart table, instruments, chairs, helm, entire console, windows, etc.)
  2. Any crew member entering the bridge should thoroughly wash their hands and face prior to entering the bridge, and their hands again immediately upon entering.
  3. Pilots may bring their own sanitizing materials, but these should also be provided by the ship and made available for all bridge team members to use frequently.
  4. Throughout the transit, Pilots onboard are encouraged to regularly wipe down any surface they come into contact with, such as pens/pencils, binoculars, radar control panels, ECDIS control panels, PPUs, VHF radios, etc.
  5. Close contact should be avoided at all times.
  6. If the Pilot is in a non-critical area of navigation and feels that they may need to cough or sneeze then they are encouraged to step to the bridge wing or exterior of the wheelhouse and do so in an open environment away from other individuals. If the area of navigation or layout of wheelhouse does not permit this action then the individual shall cover their mouth/nose and orient themselves in a direction away from other individuals. When safe to do so, they shall proceed with wiping down of the surfaces in their immediate vicinity.
  7. Any member of the bridge team should sanitize their hands immediately after touching their face, Pilot included. Pilots should make this awareness a part of Master-Pilot Exchange (MPX).
  8. Please only allow essential personnel in the wheelhouse.
  9. Eating while on the bridge should be avoided when possible.

These precautions are intended to promote social distancing and mitigate the threat of COVID-19 transmission.

For further information, contact the following:

For a current list of MSIBs in the COTP New Orleans Zone visit: https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/new-orleans under “Safety Notifications”

New York / Newark

In an effort to standardize on a new set of procedures with the intention of limiting the potential spread of Covid-19 and interruptions to cargo operations, United States Customs and Border Protection, Port of New York/Newark request all vessels arriving from foreign ports provide the following information no less than 24 hours and no more than 48 hours prior to commercial vessels arriving. 

The following listed information should be provided in one e-mail, addressed to: MAU-NY-NWK@CBP.DHS.GOV, with subject heading to be entered as follows:

Covid-19 precaution// (ships name)//(IMO)//(Agency Name)(Estimated Date of Arrival).

  1. Provide the condition of health for all crew
  2. Please submit a list of countries each crewmember visited in the last 14 days prior to arrival in Port of New York/Newark. 
  3. If provided, Please sign the attached CBP I259 (Detain onboard)
  4. Provide last 14 days of travel
  5. Estimated time in port(ETB-ETC/D)
  6. Next destination

San Francisco

Please see below from our local USCBP office, this change will affect all vessels arriving to San Francisco / Oakland and the surrounding terminals and ports effective immediately.

  • Starting immediately, the Oakland Marine Desk will process Crew Clearance with documents only.  Since all foreign crew are being detained on board with a 259 there is no need for CBP to issue a stack of Refused I95s for crew CBP is not physically interviewing.  Photos or scans of the passport bio page will be sufficient.  The exception comes when there is some derogatory information or a question of identity that requires the physical in-person comparison.
  • Clarification: As a best practice to avoid unnecessary exposure, CBP suggests that the vessel electronically send all the passport bio pages, etc. to the Ship Agents who will ensure that the following data is included on the bio pages: Hair Color, Eye Color and Weight.  This data will aid CBP (and other federal agencies) during vessel re-inspections. As for the I-259, the Oakland Marine Desk will complete the 2nd page of this document. The decision to conduct Boardings of arriving vessels will be conducted on a case-by-case basis based upon actionable intelligence or other necessities. All boardings by CBP will follow guideline designed to reduce the risk of exposure.
  • For vessels arriving coastwise CBP will revoke the D1 status and detain everyone on board, again with a 259.  Agents should bring the previous D1 I95 when they come in for the E&C.  This procedure is in furtherance of the state-wide shelter in place order and will assist USCG with her COTP orders.  Also, this will reduce the number of people who are exposed to new people during CBP processing.
  • Clarification: The denial of Shore passes does not apply to U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (LPR / Green Card) holders.   Copies of the Passport Bio pages and Visa can be emailed from the vessel to the Agents who will then add in Hair Color, Eye Color And Weight on each crewmembers Passport Bio Page.
  • Timely notification of arriving crew is a must during this time; for both foreign and coastwise vessel arrivals.
  • Clarification: The Oakland Marine Desk is requesting that Agents make Notification of Arrival literally as soon as they are aware that the vessel is bound for San Francisco from its last port. On-Signing crew will continue to be processed at the Airport of Arrival AND the Agents should make Notification to CBP (via email) in advance of their arrival.
  • Vessel boardings will follow simple risk assessment protocols which are designed to reduce the risk of exposure during CBP actions.
  • Clarification: When CBP does Vessel Boarding we have made accommodations to minimize the risk of exposure since the beginning of this year.  These changes in our daily operations include but are not limited to: Crew Clearance in Open Air environments such as On Deck or On the Pier, increased Social Distancing, utilization of PPE (Personal protection Equipment): N95 masks, latex gloves and eye protection as well as the use of hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing after CBP interactions.
  • When Ship’s Agents do come to the Marine Desk, all parties should be diligent in maintaining social distance and observe heighted hygiene such as utilizing hand sanitizer, wearing gloves and or face masks as appropriate and reasonable to the situation.
  • Clarification: The steps listed above are intended to reduce the risk of exposure for all of us as we keep the commerce of American moving.  As a best practice, CBP requests that visits to the Marine Desk become more of a one-stop for all of your processing requests.  

Los Angles / Long beach

***The following measures are in place to minimize exposure and reduce the spread of COVID-19***

Effective Immediately –

  1.  The Marine Desk at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Shoreline Square Building, and the Port of Hueneme office are closed to the general public and will only be serviced on an appointment basis. No walk-ins. No exceptions.
  2. All crewmembers onboard vessels arriving to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport (inclusive of Port Hueneme), are to be detained onboard under enhanced COVID-19 measures.
    1. A minimum of two landside safeguards are required at all times.
    2. U.S. Citizen, and U.S. Permanent Resident Crewmembers will be inspected upon arrival.
    3. Joining crew (arriving via air) may be authorized to board with prior CBP approval.
    4. All repatriation of crewmembers may be authorized with prior CBP approval and proof of foreign itinerary.
  3. All anchor boarding (water taxi launch) operations are suspended. Approvals are only on a case-by-case basis.

Entrance and Clearance (Customs)

All Customs formalities shall be performed with an appointment after electronic pre-vetting of documents and fees.

Procedures:

  • Scan all certificates, receipts, documents and relevant CBP forms for entrance and clearance. Send email with documents to: LALB-VESSEL-OPS@cbp.dhs.gov
  • Make an appointment via phone (562-366-3200), or email, after the CBP Officer approves the CBP-3171 form.
  • If you would like to request Preliminary Entry (P.E.), indicate as so on the CBP-3171 form and its accompanying Special Request Form.
  • Arrive at the Marine Desk and call 562-366-3200 for my staff to allow to come in. The appointment should only be for payment and stamping of forms (no more than 5 minutes).

Boarding (Agriculture and Immigration)

Agriculture and Immigration formalities will be scheduled at my discretion.

Crewmembers

CBP will continue to inspect U.S. Citizen and U.S. Permanent Resident crewmembers immediately upon arrival. If any crewmember is allowed shore leave and/or is signing-off, please request for their phone number and address.

Foreign crewmembers will be detained onboard with “deferred” immigration inspection and surrendering of all previously issued I-95 forms.

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