Anvisa altered norms to allow greater flexibility to board cargo vessels in Brazil

Feb, 16, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202207

The Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) granted more flexibility to the rules that control seafarers’ access to cargo ships. Now, workers are no longer required to present negative Covid-19 tests before boarding though vaccination is now mandatory as requested by port operators.

The regulation implemented in December last year was valid for crew members, pilots, maritime agents and brokers, suppliers, port operators, and other service providers who need to go aboard vessels.

At the time, everyone had to present proof of complete vaccination against covid-19, in addition to a PCR test carried out for the detection of the disease up to 72 hours before boarding or a rapid antigen test 24 hours before accessing the vessel. Preliminary screening was also required.

Now, non-crew professionals and third parties are exempt from testing as long as they wear N95 or PFF2 type masks and maintain physical distance from the crew on board when providing port support services. The worker’s health will continue to be monitored, and epidemiological investigations will still be conducted when necessary.

According to the previous norm, the vessels were required to provide testing to workers. However, the freight carriers who represent shipowners were the ones actually to enforce the rule.

José Roque, executive director of the Union of Maritime Navigation Agencies of the State of São Paulo (Sindamar), stated that “the requirements were excessively stringent, making the captain control access on board, which is especially difficult for stevedores and some service providers.”


A request from organizations representing the companies that operate in ports resulted in the rule change. The port coalition met with Anvisa executives and explained why altering the then-in force norms was necessary.

According to the president of the National Federation of Port Operations (Fenop), Sérgio Aquino, it did not make sense that everyone involved in cargo loading and unloading was expected to undergo covid tests.

These are two different groups. It is one thing to test crew members. It makes sense that they will be treated differently, However, under the previous rule, everyone involved in the vessel operation, including freight representatives, were required to present tests“, said the executive.

Source: A Tribuna

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