30 May 2023
New Ghana port fines on ships with unvaccinated personnel
Ghana port fines on vessels with crew/passengers not vaccinated against COVID-19. This falls in the latest Directive by the Ghana Health Service.
Ghana Port Health Service will levy a fine of USD 3,500 on any vessel arriving with crew or passengers not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Initially, the directive would implement from 15 January 2022 onwards. However, to allow owners sufficient time to vaccinate their crew, authorities have decided to allow a grace period. Hence, they have not yet set the actual date of implementation.
Is the fine per vessel or per unvaccinated person onboard?
This aspect of the directive is somewhat unclear. The Ghana port fines of USD 3,500 may be per vessel irrespective of the number of unvaccinated people onboard or per unvaccinated crew member.
What will happen to unvaccinated personnel?
After fulfillment of the fine, all unvaccinated personnel onboard will proceed with vaccination (Johnson & Johnson) by the local health authority. The process and technicalities around the vaccination are still unclear. Reportedly, free pratique may not be granted until all crew is vaccinated and vessels may face delays as a result.
Recognized vaccines by Ghanaian officials
Any vaccine approved by either the World Health Organization or the Ghana Food and Drug Authority. However, the list of vaccines approved by the WHO and local State’s FDA may vary. Hence, having the crew vaccinated with any of the WHO-approved vaccines would benefit both owners and charterers as they are likely to have a larger acceptance in different ports worldwide.
All unvaccinated on-signing crew will receive vaccination upon arrival unless they have valid medical grounds allowing them to be exempt. But, such a situation is unlikely to arise as all passengers entering Ghana by air will need to have full vaccination according to the Ghana Health Service since 9 December 2021.
P&I club cover
Guidance on the P&I insurance cover in relation to vaccination of seafarers is available here. Members should also refer to “Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal, Liability and Insurance Issues arising from Vaccination of Seafarers” by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) for other queries related to the vaccination of seafarers.
Owners whose vessels are planning to call ports in Ghana should ensure that the crew on board has had full vaccination against COVID-19. Thus, they should carry vaccination certificates as proof to avoid any delays or other issues upon arrival in Ghanaian ports. They may also wish to contact their local agents prior calling Ghana to obtain further information on this Directive.