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Harbor Master announces new regs for all incoming vessels

Entrance to Port of Pago Pago
Required documents must be provided 72 hours prior to arrival

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Through a Feb. 11th letter to all shipping agents, Port Administration’s Harbor Master, Silila F. Patane, announced new protocols and requirements for all incoming vessels, also making it clear that the “American Samoa Government’s only legal sea port of entry is the Port of Pago Pago.”

According to the letter, which was copied to Port Administration director Christopher King, all sea going vessels requesting entry to American Samoa “must provide all required documents 72 hours prior to arrival.”

And that all correspondence must be received and approved prior to a vessel’s arrival.

Effective Feb. 11th, shipping agents must email the Harbor Master’s Office required documentation 72 hours prior to arrival for review and clearance of a vessel to enter the territory.

Among the required documents, the Maritime Declaration of Health; Vaccination List — including Yellow Fever & Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR); vessel particulars; crew list — date of embarkation of each crew member to be included; negative COVID-19 test of crew members at least 72 hours prior to arrival in Pago Pago or from the last port of call.

“This does not exempt all crew from a repeat COVID-19 test in American Samoa,” according to the letter.

(Samoa News notes that the local test by the Health Department of crew members of container ships helped identify at least three crew members with positive tests, on three vessels since last year. Those crew who tested positive were isolated onboard each vessel.)

Another required documentation, according to the letter, is an “official medical clearance” from the last Port of call, for all crew members for any COVID-19 related symptoms.

“If unable to acquire an official medical clearance, the Captain of the vessel must then provide a letter of any crew members who had/have COVID-19 symptoms within 14-days prior to arrival,” Patane explained.

Under Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s new COVID-19 declaration which is effective Feb. 20th for 30-days, shipping agents for vessels — including but not limited to fishing and cargo vessels entering the territory — must provide the Health Department documentation required by International Health Regulations and must provide to DoH proof of a negative COVID-19 test for each person on the vessel at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

“No person will be allowed to disembark from any vessel without prior written approval of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor,” according to a provision of the declaration.

It also says that the Health director may establish policies or promulgate rules to govern the health precautions for entry of vessels into American Samoa.