Cases of COVID-19 are growing around the world. Inevitably, in a pandemic, all human populations will sooner or later begin to record cases of the illness.
However, despite the pandemic, seafarers still continue to present a very low risk of COVID-19 transmission. Of all the many thousands of cargo ships that have called at Australia, delivering vital supplies such as foodstuffs and medical equipment, only two vessels so far have had COVID-19 aboard.
Nontheless, we can expect that there will be further cases of ship-borne COVID-19. So it is pleasing to see that the US Center for Disease Control is demonstrating responsible leadership and has published updated “Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected or Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)“.
Originally published as far back in the pandemic as February 2020, the updated guidelines…
- specify what to do when one or more suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 is / are identified
- clarify disembarkation recommendations for ships
- provide supplemental guidance on cleaning and disinfection
US CDC recommendations on disembarkation
The US CDC states that: “For persons who need emergency medical attention that cannot be provided on board the ship, ship operators and shipping agents should coordinate with the shoreside healthcare facility, port authority, U.S. Coast Guard, and state and local health department, if required”.
The guidelines the go on to provide a protocol for the evacuation and transport of a sick person from a ship to obtain medical care ashore.