The SIU and the American Maritime Association (AMA, representing companies that are signatory to the standard freightship and tanker agreements) recently signed off on a number of coronavirus protection protocols that are listed below. These measures are for SIU-crewed vessels calling on ports in China. Implementation in other ports will be handled case-by-case and will involve discussions between the union and the AMA.
Additionally, the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education is utilizing a health questionnaire with all potentially incoming students in order to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone concerned. It’s a one-page document that’s being sent to students when they’re scheduled for any class.
The SIU will continue to help publicize the latest U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Bulletins concerning coronavirus along with any other potentially useful alerts and tips. Meanwhile, members can find comprehensive information and updates on the following websites:
World Health Organization
U.S. Centers for Disease Control
The March edition of the Seafarers LOG contains a lengthy article on page 8 about the virus, and the April issue will include the protection protocols that follow. Again, these procedures have been agreed to by the union, the AMA and its member companies, and they apply to vessels calling on ports in China.
- All procedures will be logged by the Master.
- Unlicensed crew members will be restricted to the ship and the Master will retain all passports.
- There shall be no routine crew changes.
- All exterior doors will be locked except for one inshore door to allow access to the house.
- The gangway will be flown off the dock to prevent uncontrolled access of people to/from the vessel. The gangway watch will allow access to critical personnel only.
- The gangway watch will control access to the unlocked access door for the purpose of restricting access inside the house to ship’s crew and critical shore staff only.
- No vendors or non-essential personnel will be granted access to the vessel.
- All visitors must wear gloves and a mask from the point of approaching the gangway.
- All visitors will be limited to access to one interior room on the main deck.
- The access room and any other contact points will be sanitized upon departure from the port.
- All crew members are to wear their PPE (N95 masks, nitrite gloves, safety goggles) while in contact with people from shore.
- Note the importance of eye protection as the virus can be contracted through the eyes.
- All crew members that come in contact with port visitors are to sanitize their safety goggles and wash their clothes immediately after the visit.
- All crew members are to frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizers.
- Ship’s crew will remain in interior spaces of the vessel as much as possible.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be set up on deck and at the entrance to the house and the interior access room.
- If you think that you may have been exposed to the virus, contact the vessel’s master immediately.