Dear SIU Members:
While we’ve all been dealing with pandemic-related adjustments for months, COVID-19 has hit home especially hard within the last week or so.
As you may know, several SIU members from a cargo ship recently were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, as were at least four members from our inland division. Previously, a few Seafarers from a passenger vessel contracted the virus, and so did a number of CIVMARS aboard one of the SIU Government Services Division ships. In fact, one of those mariners died from the illness.
In a far less alarming but nevertheless serious occurrence, we recently experienced a last-minute delay in an overseas crew change because the pre-boarding quarantine at a hotel wasn’t followed.
It is critically important that we all realize the pandemic is far from finished. Lockdowns are easing across the country and around the world, but some areas are experiencing spikes in positive diagnoses. Those increases are not solely due to more testing, federal authorities have reported.
In the SIU, here’s what we must continue doing:
- Be honest when filling out COVID-19 questionnaires that are required to enter the hiring halls and to board ships. The same goes for when Piney Point reopens – incoming students will have to complete a questionnaire.
- Follow the latest CDC guidelines as well as the state and local rules where you reside.
- Continue to utilize PPE and social distancing, and keep your hands clean.
- Before reporting for work, follow the company- and/or MSC-specific pre-boarding instructions. In many cases, these will include self-isolation, either at home or in a hotel furnished by the employer or the agency.
There is a reason that civilian mariners have been designated as “essential” employees by federal and state governments. Your work is crucial for U.S. national, economic and homeland security. Please remain cautious, follow the latest guidance, and protect yourselves, your families, and your shipmates.