In light of the challenges the shipping industry faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a circular including guidance from China on the prevention and control of COVID-19 on board.
Specifically, the circular combines previously published IMO and WHO advice with the experiences of the shipping industry over the last few months.
The circular focuses on the management system that shipping companies have to implement, based on the types of ships, the areas the ships are operating, and the multi-level COVID-19-related requirements in different regions, incorporate the prevention and control system into their companies’ safety management systems.
Following it includes all the steps to be taken for personal hygiene, including the key principles on reducing the risk of transmission:
- 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.
As already discussed, in the possibility of a confirmed COVID-19 case onboard, the circular provides the procedure to follow to isolate, prevent and control it.
Accordingly, the circular explains how to manage the case:
- at port
- on cargo ships
- on passenger ships.
Moreover, reporting suspected cases is crucial, given that the majority of the ports worldwide have already implemented restricted measures for vessels calling ports, in efforts to mitigate the virus’ spread.
Concluding, the guidelines highlight that the captain should organize the psychological intervention and health adjustment for the crew.
Frequent overtime work and without leave, plus insufficient information may result in crew members’ negative emotions, such as anxiety, paranoia, irritability, depression, sadness, fear, blind optimism, loneliness, impulsiveness, which should be addressed and get help in a timely manner.
Some methods that may reduce stress levels and anxiety include:
- breathing relaxation
- muscle relaxation
- butterfly pattern patting
- safe deposit box pattern sealing method
Overall, to learn more about the circular, click herebelow