ICS issues new set of regulations regarding Corona Virus epidemic
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), International Maritime Health Association (IMHA), has issued new guidelines for the global shipping industry to combat the global epidemic Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Some of the major highlights are as follows:
- According to International Health Regulations ships shall not be refused ‘free pratique’ i.e. permission to enter a port, embark or disembark discharge or load cargo or stores after showing a clean bill of health. However, if a source of infection or contamination is found on board, necessary disinfection, decontamination, or any other measures should be conducted to prevent spread of the infection.
- Effective protection of the health and safety of seafarers must remain a priority. Flag States must ensure all seafarers on ships flying their flag are covered by adequate measures to protect their health and have access to prompt and adequate medical care while working on board.
- Practical protection measures for Seafarers like washing hands, covering nose and mouth, avoiding physical contact with others, appropriate waste disposal.
- Ships should develop a written outbreak management plan. Seafarers on board should have knowledge of this plan and implement it as required.
- Pre-boarding screening of cargo, passengers and seafarers advised for all ships until the end of COVID-19 outbreak.
- Isolate suspect cases on board immediately and inform the next port of call of suspect cases to determine if the necessary capacity to transport and care for the individual is available.
- Once a patient has left the ship, the isolation cabin or quarters should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by staff using PPE who are trained to clean contaminated surfaces.
- Flag States regulate medical supply carriage requirements. Plentiful supplies and equipment should be available to handle an outbreak
Mr Guy Platten, Secretary-General of ICS said, ‘With no vaccine currently available to tackle the Coronavirus, all industries and governments must take appropriate steps to contain the spread’.