Update for SIU Members
At least 22 mariners aboard the Military Sealift Command vessel USNS Leroy Grumman have tested positive for COVID-19. The vessel’s crew includes CIVMARS from the SIU Government Services Division.
The Grumman has been in a Boston shipyard since January. All crew members recently were evacuated from the vessel and put into quarantine at a local hotel. Through contact tracing and other steps, MSC is still in the process of trying to identify the original source of the infection aboard the Grumman.
As the SIU continues with crew changes, members are urged to treat all pre- and post-boarding protocols with utmost seriousness. Follow your employer’s instructions, use PPE, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – and contact us if you have questions or concerns. We are working with vessel operators, federal agencies, medical professionals and local maritime authorities to keep the ships running while also maximizing safety. The success of those efforts depends in part on each member adhering to the guidelines.
Also, in ports where shore leave is permitted, we reiterate that the safest move is to remain aboard the vessels. Extra steps are being taken to stock the ships so that going ashore isn’t necessary. Keep in mind that those returning from shore leave will be treated as new arrivals.
As of this writing, the pandemic-related death toll in the United States has topped 81,000, while the number of infected individuals exceeds 1.3 million. Worldwide, there have been more than 290,000 deaths and more than 4.2 million reported cases. These statistics reflect the ongoing seriousness of the pandemic and they underscore the need to remain extremely cautious.
Halls Prepping for Eventual Reopening
We are making substantial progress in modifying the hiring halls for eventual reopening. We do not have specific target dates, but are hopeful the wait won’t be for much longer.
The modifications include installation of plexiglass dividers, rearranging furniture for social distancing, providing extra cleaning supplies, and more. We are finalizing hall-specific safety protocols and will circulate them at the appropriate time.
As with virtually every other reopening, whether full or partial, we are subject to state and local guidelines, so we’ll remain flexible. In some cases, county guidelines supersede state orders, so it’s possible and perhaps even likely that some of our halls may reopen while others are delayed in doing so.
Meanwhile, the halls are still staffed and are reachable by phone, fax and email. Please stay in touch with your hall. Thanks for your patience.
Keep Shipping Documents in Order
Although the Coast Guard has extended the expiration dates on some mariner credentials and certifications, and the Transportation Security Administration extended expirations on certain TWICs, there are still some requirements for shipping out that must be current.
For example, a member recently had difficulty shipping out because that individual didn’t possess a benzene clearance.
Check with your port agent if you’re not sure about your documentation. We also encourage you to check the COVID-19 section of the SIU website for updates.