The Liberia Maritime Authority recommended operators of ocean-going ships to give consideration to increasing the quantity of medical oxygen onboard, including individual face masks and pulse oximeters to be used in case of seafarers showing symptoms of COVID-19 with reduced oxygen saturation.
he call comes as the Administration recently received a report of a Liberian-registered ship deviating to render assistance to another ship at sea, where medical oxygen was depleted. A seafarer onboard was showing symptoms of COVID-19 and was suffering serious respiratory problems and the quantity of medical oxygen onboard was insufficient as, under the specific circumstances, it was going to be depleted within a few hours.
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As such, the Authority issued a Marine Advisory informing of the reporting requirements under International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 and providing recommendations for carriage of additional medical oxygen as a result of COVID-19.
In determining the amount of additional medical oxygen to be carried onboard, shipowners/operators should consider the current carriage of medical oxygen onboard under the International Medical Guide for Ships and Medical First Aid Guide (MFAG); number of seafarers on board; and the nature of the vessels trading pattern, including facilities at ports visited,
…the Marine Advisory notes.
Reporting requirements under IHR 2005
The IHR 2005 requires that the master of a ship, before arrival at its first port of call in the territory of a State Party, shall ascertain the state of health onboard, and the mastershall, on arrival, or in advance of the vessel’s arrival if the vessel is so equipped and the State Party requires such advance delivery, complete and deliver to the competent authority for that port a Maritime Declaration of Health in the format specified in Annex 8 of the IHR 2005. The Maritime Declaration of Health requires the master to declare if there is or has been onboard any case of disease which the master suspects to be of an infectious nature, including symptoms of COVID-19.
The Liberian Administration has received reports that some masters are not declaring to the State Party, cases of seafarers showing symptoms of COVID-19 onboard.
It should be noted that non-reporting of seafarers showing symptoms of COVID-19 not only poses a danger to seafarers’ health but also to public health ashore. Additionally, timely reporting will assist State Parties to provide the necessary support for medical care and quarantine facilities.