The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), USCG and Transport Malta, following the rest of the shipping industry, provide their advice to crewmembers on how to be protected by the coronavirus.
ITF Advice for crewmembers
- Encourage all onboard to practice hand and respiratory hygiene especially when coughing or sneezing.
- Crew should use hand sanitiser/wash hands following contact with any passenger or other crew.
- If on a layover in a country with a known coronavirus outbreak, crew are advised to remain in hotel accommodation as much as possible and practice hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices.
The following advice from the International Maritime Health Association is more specific to the maritime industry, seafarers and dock workers:
- Do not restrict embarkation/disembarkation of seafarers in non-affected ports
- Do not restrict necessary ship visits by port agents, chaplains, service personnel and others.
- Do not visit food markets in China and avoid provision of fish and poultry in China.
- Do not consume raw eggs, milk, meat.
- Observe strict food hygiene to avoid cross contamination
- Ensure facial protection is provided for all crew (5 pieces /per person)
- Provide influenza vaccination, alcohol-based hand sanitiser and facial protection for ship inspectors and other crew who travel to China.
- If a crew member on board falls sick and has been travelling to affected areas 2-12 days before embarkation, the person must stay in his/her cabin.
- If a crew member is sick on board a ship, fill out the maritime declaration of health and notify the relevant port authority and consult a healthcare providers in the next port.
In addition, the USCG issued more advise concerning the Coronavirus outbreak, as such:
- Vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased crew/passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC under 42 CFR 71.21.
- The Coast Guard will continue to review all “Notice of Arrivals” in accordance with current policies and will communicate any concerns stemming from sick or deceased crew or passengers to their Coast Guard chain of command and the CDC quarantine station who will coordinate with local health authorities.
- Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crewmembers on board their vessel prior to the Coast Guard embarking and Boarding Teams should verify vessel illnesses with CDC if concerns arise.
- Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with section 5310 Procedures for Vessel Quarantine and Isolation, and Section 5320 - Procedures for Security Segregation of Vessels in their Area Maritime Security Plan.
- Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with their Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan.
Transport Malta published additional recommendatory measures on Coronavirus protection concerning those onboard. Specifically:
- Ship masters should ensure that the crew are aware of the risks, how the virus can be spread and how to reduce the risk;
- Strictly enforce the ISPS requirements on ensuring that unauthorized personnel do not board the ship throughout the ships port call;
- Ship masters should give careful consideration to the current situation before granting any shore leave or planning crew changes whilst in affected areas;
- Upon departure from port, the crew should be aware of the symptoms and report any occurring symptoms immediately to the person in charge of medical care onboard;
- Ship masters should seek immediate expert medical opinion, in the event of a suspected diagnosis of Coronavirus. Ship masters are to report the event as soon as possible to the next port of call;
Furthermore, ship operators and masters may consider implementing the following list of measures onboard the ship when a crew member or passenger shows symptoms compatible with the disease:
- Keep the patient’s cabin doors closed, if not placed in a medical isolation room onboard;
- Provide information about the risk of disease transmission to persons who will take care of the patient or enter the isolation area;
- Maintain a log listing everybody who enters the cabin;
- Anyone entering the cabin to provide care to the person in isolation or to clean the cabin must wear appropriate PPE. A surgical protection mask and gloves are particularly important;
- Limit the movement and transport of the patient from the cabin for essential purposes only. If movement is necessary, the patient should be wearing a surgical mask;
- Start case investigation immediately. Wear appropriate PPE when interviewing the patient;
- Identify the patient’s close contacts and ask them to do passive self monitoring of any symptoms
Sources: Safety4Sea, WHO and ITF news releases