The virus was firstly detected in the central city of Wuhan, China. It causes a type of pneumonia and includes signs of infection including respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In the first place, the World Health Organization alerts that the principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections:
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
- Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
- People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands.
# Recommendations on how to stay protected from the virus
Therefore, in efforts to tackle the outbreak and protect shipping and seafarers from the virus, key players issued guidance on protection and combat of the virus’ spread.
|Date||Publisher||Name of Publication||Information|
|31 January 2020||IMO||Circular Letter No.4203||The circular provides information and guidance, based on recommendations developed WHO and the Division of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health, United Nations, on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to delegates attending meetings at IMO following the recent outbreak of novel coronavirus.|
|31 January 2020||IMO||Circular Letter No.4204||The circular provides information and guidance, based on recommendations developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to seafarers, passengers and others on board ships from the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).|
|28 January 2020||Budd Group, France||Circular (2019-nCoV)||The circular provides advice for those suffering from the symptoms of a respiratory illness.|
|27 January 2020||USCG New Orleans||Marine Safety Information Bulletin, MSIB XX-20||The Bulletin advises that vessels calling within COPT will receive an email if the “Notice of Arrival’ declares that the vessel had called to China within last five ports of call.|
Failure to report the above can lead to a civil penalty of up to $94,219.
|29 January 2020||Inchcape Shipping Services, Kuwaiti port authorities||They issued a statement according to which all ship master’s coming directly or transiting China ports, are kindly requested to ensure to provide us a statement that no symptoms was observed such as high temperature, sore throat, coughing or breathing difficulties.|
|30 January 2020||United Arab Emirates||Circular No (1) 2020||The circular notes that all the vessels that had visited any Chinese port in the previous 30 days, should provide a statement that crew have no symptoms.|
|31 January 2020||USCG Delaware Bay||Marine Safety Information Bulletin||The bulletin highlights the measures that the ships calling the Delaware Bay should follow in case of any crew experiencing symptoms, also reporting of any symptoms concerning passengers or crew that may have departed the vessel.|
|January 2020||USCG||Marine Safety Information Bulletin MSIB 01-2020||This bulletin provides guidance on reporting any sick or deceased crew/passenger, informs of quarantine station points.|
|31 January 2020||Aus Ship P&I||Bulletin||The bulletin includes advises issued by the Australian Government on how to combat the spread of the virus.|
|31 January 2020||Brazmar Marine Services||No 4/2020/SEI/GIMTV/GGPAF/DIRE5/ANVISA||The bulletin highlights that any suspected cases should be treated in isolation and with use of surgical masks.|
|31 January 2020||Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L||Circular 019/2020||Although Argentina remains a low-risk country, the country demands that any symptoms of infection or any similar symptoms with the virus should be reported.|
|28 January 2020||Transport Malta||Merchant Shipping Notice 157||The marine notice provides additional recommendatory measures on Coronavirus protection concerning those onboard.|
|31 January 2020||Gibraltar Port Authority||Coronavirus Declaration for-000156||The Declaration should be completed by every vessel that will call Gibraltar at either the Western Anchorage, East anchorage, North Anchorage, any alongside berth, Quick turnarounds, medical disembarkations, OPLA and OPLB.|
|29 January 2020||Panama Canal Authority||Advisory to shipping No. A-04-2020||The marine notice advises safety measures for vessels arriving at Panama Canal waters, for port calls or transit.|
|30 January 2020||Kuantan Port Authority||Circular 01/2020||Kuantan Port Authority has issued port circular 01/2020 which provides measures in Kuantan Port. This includes:|
|31 January 2020||Pandiman Philippines Inc||Memo||Philippine Ports Authorities (PPA) advise:|
|January 2020||Liberia Maritime Authority||MARINE ADVISORY: 03/2020||The Authority informs Shipowners/Operators/Recognized Organizations, Crewing Agents of the risks and challenges of the virus.|
|February 2020||Hong Kong Marine Department||Merchant marine shipping information note||The purpose of this Note is to promulgate IMO Circular Letter No. 4204 on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to seafarers, passengers and others on board ships from novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).|
|2 February 2020||USCG||Marine Safety Information Bulletin 02-20||The bulletin provides additional information and guidance to the maritime community regarding the current novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.|
|2 February 2020||Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry||Circular No. 03/2020||The circular highlights that all owners and managers of ships flying the Cyprus Flag are strongly urged to promulgate information on the basis of IMO Circular Letter No. 4204 to ensure that seafarers, passengers and others on board ships are provided with accurate and relevant information on the coronavirus outbreak and on the measures to reduce the risk of exposure if they are likely to be engaged on ships trading to and from ports in coronavirus-affected States.|
|3 February 2020||MPA Singapore||Port Marine Circular No.02||Provides health advisory for;|
|3 February 2020||MPA Singapore||Port Marine Circular No.03||Provides the National Environment Agency’s (Port Health Office) requirements to submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the Port Health Office.|
|3 February 2020||Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd||Bulletin||The Bulletin summarizes the protection and control measures implemented by the port Authorities of each major Chinese port.|
|4 February 2020||Aus Ship P&I||Bulletin||The bulletin is an addition to the existent one, with the Club informing that the Australian Government are implementing enhanced risk assessments on all international vessels calling into Australia.|
|4 February 2020||JF, Bangladesh, Ltd||Circular||The circular provides information on the measures taken for the utmost protection from the coronavirus.|
|4 February 2020||Spark International||For vessels arriving at Korean ports from or via China, the National Quarantine Station and related authorities have set up an enhanced screening measures for the crew onboard.|
National Quarantine Station officers are boarding those vessels to check the body temperatures of each crew along with handing out questionnaires to be filled out personally by all crew members.
|4 February 2020||Alejandro Vega||Health authorities require that when vessels arriving in Argentina from China or that have operated in a port of that country, photocopies of the last 48 hours of the Medical Record on board, as well as the latest body temperature report of crew members and passengers must be attached in Free Practique request in TAD System. (Distance Procedure System – Health Authorities electronic system).|
|5 February 2020||Bahamas Maritime Authority||Technical alert Version No. 1.2||It provides information on the widely reported outbreak of novel coronavirus.|
|5 February 2020||MPA Singapore||PORT MARINE CIRCULAR NO. 03 OF 2020||According to the circular:|
should submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the Port Health Office.
|6 February 2020||Korean Register||Notice of new Coronavirus (CoV) infection||The notice includes the announcement made by the anti-epidemic task force in the area of Jingjinag-city, China.|
|6 February 2020||Korean Register||KR informs of restrictions concerning ships entering or leaving Taiwan:|
|6 February 2020||AIV Private Limited, Pakistan||Travel Advisory for the prevention and control of novel coronavirus||Governmental department Port Health Establishment issued a travel advisory on 1 February that includes:|
The Port Qasim Authority further requires that crew from foreign vessels are not allowed to disembark.
|6 February 2020||Pandiman Philippines Inc||Circular 2020-0034||The circular includes separate requirements to be followed by cruise ships and cargo vessels.|
|6 February 2020||Brazmar, Brazil||Action to be expected of the Port Health Authority||Law firm SMA have provided advice on what to expect from Brazilian authorities should infection be suspected on board.|
|6 February 2020||Spica Services, Vietnam||For the time being, Vietnamese authorities haven't issued an official statement; Yet, North's correspondents report that:|
|6 February 2020||Spica Services, Thailand||Port Authority of Thailand requires the Master to complete and submit information 24 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival:|
In case, the last port of call is China and departure was within 14 days, Quarantine Office shall also require the Master to complete their questionnaire prior to berthing of the vessel.
If crew has experienced any illness, fever or respiratory problems, quarantine officer may attend on board for investigation.
|6 February 2020||Intermarc Services, Sri Lanka|
|6 February 2020||Cameroon||Public Notice No. 0455/20||A notice has been issued by the Port of Douala that advises of following measures to be taken:|
Crew changes must be carried out under full supervision of port health service
|10 February 2020||Hong Kong Shipowners Association||The Government has imposed a 14-day compulsory quarantine on all the people entering Hong Kong from the Chinese Mainland irrespective of their nationalities.|
You may find the exemption arrangement under Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation here and the gazettal of the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation and Prevention and Control of Disease (Disclosure of Information) Regulation here.
|10 February 2020||Nisomar Ltd., Kenya||Public notice||Kenyan Ports Authority has issued a note for Port of Mombasa for vessels that have called at China within last 14 days or crew that have travelled to China in last 14 days.|
All vessels arriving from China must fill out Maritime Declaration of Health that states health status of crew.
Submit in advance:
|13 February 2020||France||North Club issued Coronavirus situation in French ports:|
Marseille/Fos/Lavera: Agents have been asked to display and hand out to all incoming vessels the “TRAVELLERS’ ADVICE” flyers issued by the French Ministry of Health.
# The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) recently issued its recommendations in order to limit coronavirus's spread.
The guidance is in line with WHO’s advice, informing that if the recommended measures are taken, there should be no ‘unnecessary restrictions of international traffic’.
The advice go as follows:
- Exit screening at ports in the affected areas to detect symptomatic travelers 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.
In late January, BIMCO published a statement noting that
As a consequence of the current spread of Coronavirus, BIMCO has decided that no BIMCO staff can travel to the Far East until further notice. This decision extends to excluding anyone from personally attending any BIMCO training course, subcommittee meeting, working group, etc. who has been to China in the 14 days prior to the planned event.
# Australian Port Authority
Australia highlighted that there was a failure on adequate checks for the coronavirus infections on vessels entering Australian ports.
In light of this, Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin commented that
Australian workers are going out onto to these vessels and having direct contact with foreign seafarers prior to them entering the port. Tugboat crews are receiving ships equipment that may have been in contact with infected seafarers. It shouldn’t be left to these workers to provide Australia’s response to an international, viral threat.
# The International Transport of Workers' Federation (ITF)
ITF highlighted the importance of seafarers being protected, advising that:
- travelers should avoid unprotected contact with live animals;
- thoroughly cook all animal products, including meat and eggs;
- all travelers should practice good hygiene to avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms.
# Cruise sector
The Cruise Industry was equally affected by the outbreak of the virus, with many cruise companies informing that their operations in Shanghai have been suspended. Thus, the companies offered refunds or rescheduled its voyages.
- Royal Caribbean: Spectrum of the Seas, Costa Atlantica, Costa Venezia, and MSC Splendida have cancelled their departures from the International Cruise Terminal in Baoshan District;
- Costa Cruises: Suspension of all operations from China until February 4. Operations at other major Chinese ports have also been halted;
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Introduction of non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers embarking from Chinese ports. Guest with a body temperature screening of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or higher will not be allowed to board and will be directed to seek local medical treatment. What is more, guests travelling from Wuhan, China or who have been in the city in the last 30 days will be denied boarding;
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Asia Pacific: Will not permit passengers who visited Wuhan including those who are from the region to board their ships;
- Princess Cruises in Asia: No plans to change their itineraries and if necessary, they will introduce pre-boarding disease reporting for passengers arriving from affected areas;
- Crystal Cruises: Closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus, including recommendations from the World Health Organization.
# The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)
The PPA reported that they encompassed all PPA-controlled ports nationwide after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first nCoV case on January 30.
# Coronavirus Live Map
In efforts of monitoring the situation and tracking down the incident throughout the world, Johns Hopkins University launched a live, interactive map, which depicts in real time, the spread of the virus.
For example, today, 4 February 2020, according to the map there have been totally 20,679 cases of people infected, with 427 total deaths and 715 recoveries.