Argentina is bound without reservation by the International Sanitary Regulations of the World Health Organization. In accordance with Decree 1527/01 and its ruling Disposition DNSyF 02/02 the Free Pratique Certificate can be obtained and a fee is charged for this according to the vessel’s tonnage.
These same charges are applicable for the renewal of an expired De-ratting Certificate. Vessels take pratique in port, and may enter and berth if they fulfill the following conditions:
a) Clean port of sailing and ports of call.
b) No persons with infectious or contagious diseases or with fever on board.
c) No cases during the voyage of diseases of international concern, or of infectious diseases of an epidemic nature.
To be able to obtain this privilege of taking pratique in port, it is essential that Masters of all vessels arriving from abroad advise their Agents not less than 72 hours prior to arrival, that the vessel under their command is in the sanitary conditions required by art. 45 of the Regulations, to enter port and go alongside. The message may be sent either in English or Spanish, and specimen texts in both languages are given herewith:
Solicitamos pedir libre plática telegráfica buque ..........(1).......... procedente de ..........(2).......... con escalas en ..........(3).......... con ..........(4).......... tripulantes ..........(5).......... pasajeros para Buenos Aires (or other port) ..........(6).......... pasajeros en tránsito punto de claro no tener a bordo personas afectadas por ninguna enfermedad pestilencial punto estado sanitario bueno.
or in English:
Please request free pratique mv ..........(1).......... proceeding from ..........(2).......... with calls at ..........(3).......... with ..........(4).......... crew ..........(5).......... passengers for Buenos Aires (or other port) ..........(6).......... passengers in transit stop hereby declare that nobody on board affected by any pestilential disease stop sanitary condition good.
In each case, the blanks must be filled in as follows:
1. Name of vessel and flag.
2. Port of commencement of voyage.
3. Full details of all ports of call.
4. Number of crew.
5. Number of passengers for Buenos Aires (or whatever port first entered).
6. Number of passengers in transit.
7. Full name of Master, and also of doctor, if there is one on board.
As there have been cases of insufficient information being received from vessels, and ‘added in’ by Agents in the translation, the authorities have established this standard form which Masters should follow in their messages, and which will accompany the request to the Port Health Authorities. This facility refers to all Argentine ports. The message requesting free pratique must be sent to the vessel’s Agent at first port of call, after which free pratique is automatic in all subsequent Argentine ports. If, however, a non Argentine port is called at en route, free pratique must again be requested at what will then become the ‘first Argentine port’.
The Port Health officer, together with other officials will board on arrival for a routine inspection and the granting of Free Pratique. All vessels, without exception, must fly the “Q” flag on entry and until Free Pratique has been granted (fine for non compliance u$s 5000). The Doctors’ visit does not normally delay the commencement of cargo operations. It is important to note that the regulations regarding cholera must be fully complied with (see Cholera).
Tankers and other ships lightening in River Plate waters, provided they comply with art. 45 should request free pratique in the usual manner and after lightening are allowed to continue their voyage to the port of destination to complete formalities at Zona Común or alongside.
Ships loading grain at anchor in the River Plate
Vessels entering the River Plate to load grain directly from transshipment vessels at Alpha Zone can be authorized to work by obtaining free pratique via Agents from the health Authorities via Agents at Buenos Aires. Should port health inspectors have to be sent out, then the cost is for ship’s account.
The Port Health doctor may check the expiration dates of medicines and the quantities of drugs on board if this is considered necessary.
W.H.O. does not recommend vaccination, as the epidemic is transmitted through contaminated water and foodstuffs which should be taken in a hygienic condition; packed, cooked, boiled, etc. Infected areas are:
- Africa: Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia.
- America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay.
- Asia: Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Vietnam, Yemen.
- Europe: Ukraine.
Argentine sanitary control regulations governing ships for the purpose of preventing cholera have been established by Resolution # 1333 of December 1st 1992, issued by Ministry of Public Health and Social Action.
Waste on board and eventual disposal requisites
The Resolution 895/2002 issued by SENASA (National Agriculture and Foodstuff Health Agency) within the National Plan for Plagues and Diseases Prevention establishes periodical or and/or permanent inspections aboard arriving ships with the purpose of controlling the Sanitary condition of vessels’ foodstuff, stored or disposable waste liquids and solids including organic garbage and may amongst its faculties allow, order and/or prohibit the discharge of same according to the registered information concerning nature, procedure and antiquity of the wastes. For the aforementioned purpose vessels must submit via agents no less than 72 hours prior arrival the related information contained in the Annex 1 Form of the said Resolution.
The cost of the inspection is entirely for account of the Owners. So far these inspections have been gradually implemented as from the beginning of 2005 at all River Paraná ports and Buenos Aires. The measure is foreseen to be applicable at all Argentine ports in the near future, however, budget provision as well as the incorporation of skilled personnel to cover all areas has still not been finalized.