Freight ship

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), in collaboration with bodies such as the World Health Organization, has issued a guide to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) within the shipping industry.

Among a raft of measures highlighted in the guidance the document contains advice on managing port entry restrictions, offers practical protective measures against COVID-19 for seafarers, including an outbreak management plan. 

The guidance document also provides information around important topics including Port Entry Restrictions, Pre-boarding Screening, Education and what to do in Suspected Cases of Infection. 

There is also straightforward advice on Hygiene Measures for Seafarers on Ships, Managing High Risk Exposure, Case Handling, Isolation and Cleaning, Disinfection and Waste Management. 

The guidance also comes with posters which can be printed out and placed onboard ships as well as a Sample Pre-Boarding Passenger Locator Form and a WHO COVID-19 Support and Logistics Supplies List.

Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, Guy Platten, said,“With no vaccine currently available to tackle the Coronavirus, all industries and governments must take appropriate steps to contain the spread. Shipping is responsible for 90 per cent of global trade and recognises its responsibility in helping tackle this global health issue whilst ensuring that the wheels of global trade continue to turn.”

The guidance document has been designed to support all types of ships which operate in international waters with the most up to date and effective information needed to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. 

It will be distributed to seafarers through the International Chamber of Shipping’s network of national member associations, is free to download from the ICS website and will be shared via social media. 

The International Maritime Organization will circulate the ICS guidance on COVID-19 as an annex to an IMO circular letter and other shipping organisations will also be encouraged to distribute the guidance to ensure that it receives the widest distribution possible.

CEO of Shipping Australia, Rod Nairn, highlighted the importance of precautionary measures but denounced additional restrictions already in place.

“Shipping Australia and its member lines continue to ensure that all available measures are in place to protect the health and well-being of seafarers and constrain the spread of the virus. These precautionary measures, and the limited interactions between crews and local people during port visits, mean that crews of cargo ships present an extremely low risk vector for the virus.

“It is disappointing that some Australian ports continue to place additional restrictions on ship entry than the Australian Government has deemed necessary. This action has further disrupted the international supply chain forcing shipping lines to blank services and alter their port call rotations adding costs and causing inconvenience to end users,” Mr Nairn said.

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