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Maritime Health

Cleaning and disinfection practices on Ships in COVID-19 case

By | Maritime Health, Maritime Safety | No Comments

As vital as the Maritime industry is to the world and its people, equally important is the work of the brave seafarers who perform one of the toughest jobs in the world by running those massive ships through the roughest seas and riskiest areas. INTLREG is concerned with health, safety and well-being of seafarers across the globe. To all our Seafarers who are still making sure all our vessels make it to their destinations, please read below  to make sure that you are taking the precautions and are safe.

Maintaining good hygiene onboard plays a major role against all seaborne diseases. Given the recent Coronavirus outbreak, crew members onboard more than ever need to be aware of the key practices for their safety and protection; routine cleaning, proper disinfection practices and appropriate treatment of waste produced from the COVID-19 are among those practices that can play an essential role in minimising the spread of the virus in case a suspected case of COVID-19 is found onboard.

Key tips for cleaning and disinfecting

In case of coronavirus emergency, it is advisable to clean all areas but apply disinfectant ONLY on surfaces/items with direct contact with person having presented COVID-19 symptoms, especially the areas which may have been occupied by the person etc. Do not use disinfection to the areas which are not relevant to potential transmission, such as floor, carpet, walls, etc.

Clean the hard, non-porous surface first with detergent and water, and then apply disinfectants according to the product instructions. Ensure correct concentrations and sufficient contact time for effective disinfection. Carefully remove porous materials, where possible, such as upholstery, rugs, and carpeting that have been in contact with the suspect case. Launder in accordance with the product instructions or dispose of the materials as described below.

Waste disposal containers in the area, where a person presenting COVID-19 symptoms has been in direct contact with surfaces/items and may be possibly contaminated, should be emptied prior to starting surface cleaning and disinfection. Waste disposal containers located in contaminated areas should be emptied by persons wearing PPE.

Key requirements for crew members in charge

Crew or personnel on board in charge of cleaning and disinfection should:

  1. Have knowledge of how to prepare correct dilutions and the contact time for the disinfectant being used
  2. Limit hand contact with the face, especially the nose and eyes
  3. Use PPE (disposable gloves, mask, gown) to be protected from direct contact with chemicals and against direct contact with secretions/blood/body fluids.
  4. Change PPE frequently, especially if they become damaged during cleaning and disinfection
  5. Use eye protection apparatus, if splashing is expected, prior to entering the contaminated areas
  6. Use additional barriers (e.g., leg covers, shoe covers) as needed
  7. If reusable heavy-duty gloves are used for cleaning and disinfecting, they should be properly disinfected after use
  8. Be familiarised with the appropriate disposal of contaminated PPE
  9. Used PPE should be disposed of in plastic bags, tied up, and labelled with a biohazard symbol. Do not shake the PPE while handling to prevent producing aerosols
  10. Hands must be washed using soap and warm water for a sufficient period of time (20 to 30 seconds) to remove any infectious material.

Moreover, all used PPE and all soiled items (used tissues, disposable masks, tubing, linen, pillows, blankets, mattresses not covered with an impermeable plastic covering, etc.) in the contaminated areas, should be treated as Bio hazardous waste (classified as Category A infectious waste UN 2814 for transportation) and stored in an impermeable plastic bag labelled biohazard. The bag should be tied up, not reopened and disposed according to the protocol of the ship for clinical waste. If incinerator is available on board, then waste must be incinerated. If waste must be delivered ashore, then special precautions are needed and the port authority should be informed before waste delivery.

 

Coronavirus outbreak: Key protection measures for seafarers

By | Maritime Health | No Comments

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), USCG and Transport Malta, following the rest of the shipping industry, provide their advice to crew members on how to be protected by the coronavirus.

ITF Advice for crew members

  1. Encourage all onboard to practice hand and respiratory hygiene especially when coughing or sneezing.
  2. Crew should use hand sanitiser/wash hands following contact with any passenger or other crew.
  3. 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:

  1. Do not restrict embarkation/disembarkation of seafarers in non-affected ports
  2. Do not restrict necessary ship visits by port agents, chaplains, service personnel and others.
  3. Do not visit food markets in China and avoid provision of fish and poultry in China.
  4. Do not consume raw eggs, milk, meat.
  5. Observe strict food hygiene to avoid cross contamination
  6. Ensure facial protection is provided for all crew (5 pieces /per person)
  7. Provide influenza vaccination, alcohol-based hand sanitiser and facial protection for ship inspectors and other crew who travel to China.
  8. 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.
  9. 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:

  1. Vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased crew/passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC under 42 CFR 71.21.
  2. 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.
  3. Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crew members on board their vessel prior to the Coast Guard embarking and Boarding Teams should verify vessel illnesses with CDC if concerns arise.
  4.  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.
  5. 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.

Click below to learn more :

USCG-Novel-Coronavirus-Precautions-2020_01

Global Shipping Body (ICS) issues guidance to shipowners in the face of the Corona Virus

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Global Shipping Body (ICS) issues guidance to shipowners in the face of the Corona Virus

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the global shipping body representing 80% of the world’s merchant fleet, is advising its membership to take steps that limit the spread of the novel Corona Virus (2019-nCov). The instructions reflect advice given from the World Health Organisation (WHO), who stated that if certain measures are taken, there should be no “unnecessary restrictions of international traffic”, meaning ports and global shipping can continue to operate.

Guy Platten, the Secretary General of ICS commented:

“The shipping industry will always prioritise the health of our crew and members of the public above all else. We have recommended that all our members across the world follow the WHO measures. As an industry, we fully understand the importance of playing our role in halting the spread of viruses.

“By implementing the measures in their entirety, we are avoiding the needless closure of any port. Shipping can continue to be the conduit for 90% of world trade, ensuring the steady supply of medicine, food and fuel for consumers worldwide. We are thankful that the WHO has avoided a knee jerk reaction, which would do nobody any favours.”

Advice provided to shipowners highlights the need for:

  • Exit screening at ports in the affected areas to detect symptomatic travellers and prevent the exportation of the disease. This includes checking for signs and symptoms and keeping confirmed cases under isolation and treatment.
  • Implementing health information campaigns to raise awareness on how to receive assistance if someone is showing symptoms.
  • Collaborating with public health authorities for case management on board ships, should a traveller with symptoms be detected.

The ICS takes its responsibilities on safeguarding public health extremely seriously. It has shared WHO guidelines to its members on how best reduce the possibility of the spread of 2019-nCov.

The trade body has urged all members to fully adopt the guidelines. Doing so avoids the unnecessary closure of ports, that facilitate 90% of global trade, including the transportation of medicines that underpin the health industry, as well as food and fuel supplies.

Should the WHO recommendations change with the closure of specific ports for medical reasons, we would recommend that the port in question and shipowners follow this advice. ICS will continue to keep a close watch on the situation and will notify its members of developments.