COVID-19 Maritime News

Seafarer on board a bulker named Corona has been evacuated to Cape Town with symptoms of Covid-19

A good article from the NYT:

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Singapore allow crew change on certain conditions:

Will anybody else follow up??

Somebody is showing some sense here. They’ve established screening rules to reduce to tolerable limits the chance of spreading the disease. As long as everyone plays by the rules they should have little problem.

The main problem IMO is screening 3rd world mariners who are about to join a ship. Self-isolation before sailing is key to a system of minimizing the chance of COVID19 getting into a ship/airport. In countries notorious for corruption and superstition I see the rules getting bent, as mariners feel the need to make money at all costs.

This would be my concern anywhere. I know a number of mariners right here in the U.S. who are not big on following rules they don’t care for, and want to make money at all costs. My question would be; can they prove that they have been quarantined for the past 14 days; or does the company just have to take them at their word?

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I don’t think there is a practical way for any company to prove someone has robustly self-isolated themselves for 14 days. I think the system relies on trust and threat.

Small companies have an easier go of it, IMO, because in my experience small companies have a better chance of establishing trust with their employees than larger ones. They know who to trust and who not to trust. If the company is union, this might mean nothing, because union rules re: fairness may supercede discretion, whereas a non-union company might say, “Johnny’s lied to me before–he’s not sailing."

The implicit threat in play is this: if any crew member does come down with a cough and fever aboard ship, regardless of whether the illness is COVID19 or not, the entire ship may be quarantined for 14-days at sea or anchor. Who wants to face a crew pissed off at you for everyone being in quarantine? And the oldest crew members might be more than just angry at such a selfish act…

I have had people suggest to me that people who are caught flouting the rules be fired, because they pose a health threat to all crew members. Example; If a crew member comes aboard with a cough held in control with cough drops, even though they said in screening they didn’t have a cough, and it becomes apparent they do, they would be fired.

Mind you, this was a crew member suggesting this to me, not management, showing how some mariners are viewing this.

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Even self isolating at home for two weeks, how then can you guarantee that you didn’t get exposed on the flight / traveling to the ship? It’s bound to happen at some point

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I don’t think Singapore authorities will let anybody ashore, or on board ships in port solely on their or the company’s word (written or otherwise).

There will be screening on arrival at the airport and/or at boarding for joining crew.Likewise for those signing off, before they are allowed to set foot on Singapore soil.

Whether any stopover in Singapore over and above the minimum required for crew change will be allowed is doubtful. (From airport to ship and v.v. only, with the local Agent responsible is my guess)

PS> This arrangement is for ships and seafarers of all nationalities. Nothing to do with any special consideration for union or non-union etc. (Most seafarers are member of ITF)
There MAY be special considerations for last port(s) of call and duration at sea etc.
Situation at country of origin before arriving in Singapore MAY also be a consideration, as not all countries are at the same level of control, or same stage of the pandemic…

PPS> Singapore is no newcomer to Corona viruses. having honed their skills on SARS and MERS. Swine flue and other epidemics have also been handled, without terminating normal shipping operation, or shutting down the port.

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We can only hope that they can deliver the “30 minute” test. At least that way everyone can be tested at the bottom of the gangway. Not that that would catch someone who was exposed a few minutes ago at the gate to the dock.

Maybe the bottom line is there is simply no way to know who is infected until it is too late to really do much about it in the context of crews and crew changes.

That would be a game changer for sure.

There’s no guarantee of anything. The goal is minimization of chance, not elimination. With many domestic flights in the U.S., every other row is empty, and each passenger gets their own row. No meals in flight. If the mariner follows strict protocols about gloving-up enroute, handwashing repeatedly, etc. the chance of exposure is miniscule. Much of the U.S. is self-isolating now. The airlines likely have their own staff under strict COVID rules. The chance of exposure is minimized, but not eliminated.

As you say, it is bound to happen sometime, but having it happen once every 200 crew rotations is better than having it happen every 2 crew rotations.

No one will know until after the emergency, and the companies which followed a strict screening protocol compare their results with those companies which didn’t.

Of course, the companies which didn’t screen are not likely to raise their hands and admit it, especially if the companies that did screen had zero cases of COVID19 aboard ship, and the companies that didn’t screen had several.

Others are easing up on restrictions to allow crew change:

The main Problem of crew change is now another. We can’t lieve our Counntry to join the vessel, all Boarders closed. That’s the idea! :worried:

ITF launches fund for seafarers impacted by corona virus:

USD 1.2 Mill. is not a lot, but at least they do something.

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Nobody is spared by this Coronavirus…

“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. … This is a necessary risk,” Crozier wrote. “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”

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What is the bunking arrangement for the enlisted personnel on a ship like this.
(I assume they don’t have single cabins with in-situ toilet/shower?)

Lots of open berthing.

Maybe the Government in Guam don’t want “foreigners” to bring the sickness with them
Or occupy what little capacity they have for isolation of Covid-19 affected persons on the island.

Maybe Hawaii or California could accommodate US service personnel in need??
They are not “worthless foreigner” after all

They may have to endure a trans-Pacific crossing, (Similar to what have been suggested for the crew and passengers on the two cruise ships heading for Florida)

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