COVID-19: Health & Safety Measures On & Off the Port
COVID-19 has changed much for everyone. Stay at home and stay safe is applicable to most people across the globe. However, life at sea and ports cannot stop. They are the global lifelines involved in shipping goods worldwide. Ports and seafarers ensure that the medical supplies, food, fuel, and raw materials continue to reach their destinations unperturbed. These are vital components to keep economies running and preserving employment.
Operating while maintaining staff health is of paramount significance during these challenging times. There are specific protocols and guidelines issued by the IMO & Port authorities of every country. While following the underlying protocols is mandatory for everyone on and off the port, some specific measures are getting followed too.
Some of the essential protective measures getting followed as per the WHO guidelines and ICS guidance include
- Crew members need to wash hands with hot water and soap frequently or use an alcohol-based sanitiser for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching hands, mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.
- Seafarers must cover the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing or bending the elbow.
- Used tissues should be disposed of promptly.
- Seafarers must maintain social distancing, i.e., keep at least 1-metre distance from the other person.
- Avoid consuming raw or uncooked animal products and handle them with care.
- Maintain a medical log.
Before Calling at Port
The Master needs to ensure that the precise port info and vessel ETA are sent to the office before reaching the affected country’s port.
- Gathering all the necessary details is necessary to mitigate the COVID-19 risk, take the required precautions and comply with the local requirements.
- The ship of the crew must raise the alarm if there is any COVID-19 suspect onboard.
- If anyone has joined the vessel in the last 14 days, the details need to be shared.
- The Master needs to ensure that the precise port info and vessel ETA are sent to the office before reaching the affected country’s port.
- Some Ship Security plans have made provisions like conducting risk assessment before entering into an affected port and analysing the preventive measures getting taken at the port.
Precautions with Pilot
Below are some comprehensive measures that are in place for the security of the pilot.
- The entire bridge gets disinfected before and after the departure of the pilot.
- Disposable gloves provided to the pilot.
- Remote temperature check of the pilot gets done before boarding.
- During the transit, the pilot and other crew members should regularly wipe the surfaces and equipment like radar control panels, PPUs, VHF radios and more.
Precautions at Port
When the vessel reaches the port, especially in an affected country, the below measures are observed.
- Seafarers should refrain from going ashore.
- Minimal interpersonal exchanges with other people ashore.
- Try to use electronic and radio-controlled devices.
It is more vital than before to take care of the seafarers, the sea’s unsung heroes. Each month, nearly 150,000 seafarers need to change over from ships, and they need to comply with the regulations mentioned above by the International Maritime Organisation for the seafarers’ safety and security.