Following International Marine Contractors Association’s (IMCA) latest Safety Flashes, it is summarized a COVID-19 case onboard and the proper dispose of surgical face masks.
A vessel assigned employee approached the vessel clinic with a high temperature and other COVID-19 related symptoms.
As explained, the person was quarantined and a swab test performed with results confirmed as COVID-19 positive. They were then medevaced ashore.
The vessel was quarantined and further monitoring revealed three more positive cases onboard within next 10 days. All these affected personnel recovered. Eventually, the vessel after disinfection and with new crew is back in operation.
- Vessel was under company and client quarantine regime with clear red & green zones segregation and
monitoring controls in place. The positive case was identified after 8 days of quarantine in a hotel and on the
25th day onboard the vessel. In spite of all the above it is obvious that quarantine and prevention procedures
failed at some stage and thus contamination occurred.
- Site visits revealed several cases of wearing non-medical masks by crew and client representatives.
- Robust COVID-19 segregation, PPE & social distance measures to be implemented on vessels and worksites at
all times by all parties. Any failures observed should be immediately reported.
- The best form of prevention continues to be social distancing, wearing of masks and practicing good hand
hygiene at all times.
Speaking of PPE onboard, according to IMCA:
“One of the PPE requirements to combat the spread of COVID-19 is the use of masks, because it is an efficient means of protecting ourselves and others. This has significantly increased demand and production of single-use surgical masks all over the world. However, it is also important that safe disposal of COVID-19 masks is taken into consideration”.
- Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is of vital importance to safely dispose the face masks.
- Face masks can take centuries to break down, thus having a profound negative impact for marine wildlife and ecosystems.
- The ear loops of a mask pose an entanglement risk for marine wildlife.
- Dispose of masks responsibly and be aware of the nature of the hazards and the risks involved in disposing of single-use masks.
- Cut off the straps of the single-use masks before disposal.
- Consider using re-usable face masks where possible.