Egypt State of Emergency: Skuld P&I Situation Update
The Skuld P&I Club following a number of enquiries in respect of the on-going situation in Egypt, has prepared the following FAQs, with excerpts as follows:
- When was the State of Emergency (SoE) declared - The State of Emergency was declared on 14 August 2013 all over Egypt
- Is this SoE open-ended or subject to an expiry date - The State of Emergency was declared for one month commenced on 14/08/2013 and up to 14/09/2013
- Which ports and shipping areas are subject to curfew - Curfew had been declared in 14 governorates in Egypt, including Alexandria, Suez and North Sinai (Al Arish) as shipping areas, while the SoE prevails all over Egypt
- From what time to what time the curfew in effect - Curfew was initially from 19:00 hrs up to 06:00 hrs LT (17:00 - 04:00 hrs UTC), but was reduced recently since 24 August 2013, to be from 21:00 hrs - 06:00 hrs LT, (19:00 hrs - 04:00 hrs UTC)
- What is the consequence of violating the curfew - The curfew is enforced at strategic points by armed security (police/army) and it depends on the situation and persons, violators may be arrested. In case of emergencies it is recommended to contact the local correspondents for assistance if activity after curfew hours is necessary for some reason.
- Is it safe to travel between cities and ports - say for example if a crew changeover is being planned - Our correspondents advise that it is generally safe to travel between cities and ports during daytime, while safety during night is not guaranteed. Members may wish to consider whether to undertake crew change-overs in Egypt during the current period. - In any event, for all travel and time spent inside Egypt, Members are advised to always employ common sense and undertake reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their employees and crew.
- Who is responsible for the security of Egyptian Ports - Police forces are responsible for the security of Egyptian ports
- Have there been any threats against ports, vessels or seafarers - Our correspondents advise that there have not been any threats against ports, vessels or seafarers at Egypt
- Who is responsible for the security of the Suez Canal - The armed forces & navy are responsible for the security of the Suez Canal
- Have there been any threats against the Canal, vessels or seafarers - Our correspondents advise that there have not been any threats against the Canal, vessels or seafarers
- Who has authority to either restrict the use of the Canal or even close it - The Canal is administered by the Suez Canal Authority. In State of Emergencies the Suez Canal Authority may make the decisions to schedule convoys earlier or later than their regular schedules or delay it according to the circumstances
- Is it present safe or advisable for crew to take shore leave at Egyptian ports and/or the Canal - It will be difficult to predict where and when demonstrations and/or other incidents take place in some cities in Egypt. During such event it may not be safe or advisable for crew to take shore leave. Members are recommended to take a prudent and common sense approach, which may mean not scheduling shore leave while calling in Egypt during the present period
- Is it present safe or advisable to conduct crew change-overs at Egyptian ports and/or the Canal - In order to conduct a safe and successful crew change-over at Egyptian ports and/or the Canal, it will be advisable to have a detailed discussion with ship's agents in order to have the latest specific situational update to hand before making arrangements. Before undertaking such an operation, a prudent risk assessment should be undertaken keeping in mind the prevailing circumstances.
- Has there been any rise in criminality or acts against vessels or seafarers in the last three months - While there has not been any rise in significant criminality or acts against vessels or seafarers in the last three months in Egypt, the Association was made aware of a number of individual situations where unidentified persons sought to gain access to vessels for reasons unknown, in particular container vessels were apparently targeted and the Association would repeat its earlier caution to Members to ensure vessels maintain rigorous safety disciplines while calling at Egypt or transiting the Canal
- What is the nature of the present Inspection Regime, which conducts vessel inspections for weapons checks - It is a random check up conducted by military intelligence units looking for undeclared weapons or any issues that may endanger navigation in the Suez Canal and Masters are strongly advised to cooperate with these inspectors
- Who has authority to demand an inspection of the vessel, and how can it be verified that the demand originates from an authorized person - The Egyptian military intelligence has the authority to demand an inspection of any vessel and these inspectors should carry ID cards to verify their authority
- What should a vessel do in order to comply with a demand for inspection - Vessels in general should declare the cargo and persons they carry, and Masters are strongly advised to cooperate with these inspectors
- What are the likely consequences if a vessel fails to comply with an inspection demand
- If a vessel refuses or does not cooperate with an inspection on board, she may be delayed and subject to a formal and detailed inspection and there is a risk of detention of vessel and crew in such circumstances
- What recommendations do you give to vessels and seafarers to ensure that they continue to stay safe while calling at any Egyptian port or transiting the Canal - The general advice for vessels and seafarers to ensure their safety at Egypt is to cooperate with their agent and local authorities and strictly follow level 1, security measures on board & never allow any persons to board vessel unless they declare in advance their reason for boarding and show their IDs, as well as declare from which authority they are dispatched
The Association states it is grateful for the continued Assistance from Correspondents El Hamamsy in sourcing information for Members on developments in Egypt.