The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020. The Club is monitoring the situation, and this Focus page is updated regularly.
A number of countries have implemented travel restrictions or bans, country wide lockdowns, and mandatory 14 day self-isolation or quarantine to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. A ‘social distancing’ policy is also being implemented in order to reduce unnecessary contact.
All shipstaff and travellers should be made aware of the risks, symptoms and the actions to take.
Members are advised to review the WHO and local public health authority websites (see below) for the latest advice, and to follow appropriate health advice and guidelines.
Additional information may also be available from:
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Typical symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and fatigue. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.
CLUB ADVICE AND GUIDANCE
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- Consider respiratory facemasks and protective eyewear
- Avoid close contact with ill people, particularly people suffering from acute respiratory infections
The International Group of P&I Clubs have launched a publicly accessible online dashboard which details country and port specific measures in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Law Firm MFB have provided a brief update on some of the issues that may arise from COVID-19
BIMCO provide advice on charter parties and other contracts in the COVID-19 section of their website
STAYING SAFE ON BOARD AND ONSHORE
- China MSA has updated their Guidance on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 on board (V2.0)
- The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has issued Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers
- WHO has issued Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships
- The IMO has issued a Circular to facilitate appropriate COVID-19 lockdown exemptions for seafarers to join or leave ships
ADVICE FROM MARITIME ORGANISATIONS
ADVICE FROM CORRESPONDENTS
Correspondents in China have issued the following Circulars related to COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Update—- Crew changes become possible in Shanghai, China, 21/03/2020
- Update on the Outbreak of the COVID-2019 in China, 19/02/2020
- Outbreak of the New Coronavirus in China—-Measures Taken at Chinese Ports, 05/02/2020
- Update on the Outbreak of the New Coronavirus in China, 29/01/2020
- Latest Update on Crew Change in Chinese Ports, 21/04/2020
- Updates on Chinese Port Information during COVID-19 outbreak, 10/03/2020
- Huatai Info – on Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak, 03/02/2020
The following organisations also have useful pages on their websites dedicated to COVID-19.
Enhanced health screening measures, including the use of thermal scanners, are in place for travellers and seafarers who have recently visited or travelled through areas where COVID-19 is prevalent. They may also be required to self-isolate for a period of at least 14 days. Immigration and local health authorities may implement additional restrictions.
Requests for Free Pratique are now required well in advance of arrival, and Masters are required to report any indication that a crew member or passenger may have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, severe coughing, breathing difficulties etc.). Quarantine officers may also board the ship for additional verification checks.
Members are also advised to check with local correspondents and agents for the latest position.
PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES
Links to local public health authority websites for certain ports/countries are given below, and Members can contact the Club for additional information.
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- United States Coast Guard