Screening Arriving Crew for COVID

Pretty good stuff here.

Ive seen this implemented a little diffrently with arriving crew, well for Tug Companies that is.

Some Day Boats have been treated as temporary refuge, a crew change of 5 guys will land together, bused to a stby boat, they will be housed together, and complete onboard work and maintenance, assuming everyone checks out well. They will then be put on a working tug.

Larger Tug Companies are able to justify the cost from the maintenance perspective.

Smaller Tug Companies are eating crow and throwing guys onboard working tugs with Crews who have had little to no exposure. Sucks?

I hear a Valaris has a drillship under quarantine due to corona. Anyone able to deny or confirm?

One company’s experience:
Where I work, the screening rules are somewhat like those mentioned in Post #1. The crews change in Puget Sound. In February, before the rules, a few common colds were reported in crews on some boats. After the COVID19 screening rules were imposed, even these disappeared.

The lack of common colds indicates that the 14-days of self-isolation before joining a crew, as well as the other rules, are stopping the transmission of all coronavirus-type germs.

As for exposure as people travel to join the boat:
Planes are mostly empty, and the number of flights have been drastically cut. Airports are all but deserted, and the airlines have been distancing passengers out through the cabin to avoid exposure. How long this can go on is hard to say. Without government bailouts most airlines would have declared bankruptcy already. People driving to work are given a long list of travel rules to avoid exposure.

The system is working, with crew changes happening at the normal times. Given enough time, a COVID19 case may come aboard ship, but the system is not meant to eliminate all chance, just to greatly reduce it. As long as most of the nation is on lockdown and people are focused on the emergency, the system will continue to work. But “isolation fatigue” will eventually become a thing. Some regions will relax restrictions early. Then things may fall apart.


My pal that replaced “Fatman” many moons ago sent me a picture/selfie of him on a plane flying from Jacksonville recently to his destination for crew change. A mask and not many passengers. I wish him well.

I agree that the social distancing & extra precautions are working. Thank God for that. But I would also like to point out it is very likely some people aren’t being completely honest because they don’t want to lose weeks or months of work over something they think is only a cold.

Here is the very believable scenario about what happened at a company that I “might” be familiar with. Over the course of a few week period 3 separate passengers/3rd party/crew reported covid19 symptoms. All 3 were removed from the vessel at different times to be tested. The first came back negative, lost work & pay. The second came back positive & was paid until the end of his hitch. Supposedly he got paid because of some rule or law that says pay can’t be lost due to covid19 sickness. The 3rd came back negative & lost work & pay. The guy who tested positive stayed in touch with his coworkers back on board & said he felt fine before & after he reported his symptoms. He only had a mild fever that 1 day. He’s already tested negative once on a second test & will be cleared to go back to work soon if he hasn’t been already.

Guys who live paycheck to paycheck & who are in relative good health won’t take this as serious as they should in my opinion & from my observations.

@freighterman1 , you being in HR, do you know anything about a law that says pay can’t be lost for people who lose work for testing positive or is that just a local company policy?

What a effing nightmare to solve. So glad my bride and I are retired, her especially due to her work in the medical field. She and I are in contact with her former doctor pals and work partners. They are scared as hell,but still showing up for work. I have nothing but respect for these people. Our maritime guys keeping the work up for our under appreciated or unnoticed effort deserve a hat’s off as well. You men and women keep at it, some recognize it and are quite proud of what you do.

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[quote=“Sand_Pebble, post:25, topic:54688”]
do you know anything about a law that says pay can’t be lost for people who lose work for testing positive or is that just a local company policy?

There are a number of different programs, federal and state, which help with this.

(from above website)
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)…[this program reimburses] American private employers that have fewer than 500 employees with tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave taken for specified reasons related to COVID-19…[so] that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures… while at the same time reimbursing businesses.

Another federal program awards SBA grants to reimburse employers for the same thing.

Washington-state Employment Security has a COVID19 rule for time-off due to prevention.

So, there’s multiple programs, but also complexity. The SBA grants have to be applied for. Probably a quarter million companies are applying right now. Approval takes time. On the shore facility side of the operation, less than ten people have been sent home as a precaution, or because they had colds, etc. Between using sick-time to do this, and the unemployment benefits, people still get paid.

Most people in other companies I talk with say their rules are about the same as ours, with the same results. They’re operating under the assumption that it is costlier to have a case of COVID19 aboard a boat than to have a screening program to reduce the chance.

Companies around the world are still figuring this stuff out, and doing it amazingly quickly, given that the shit hit the fan in the USA only five weeks ago. But the bottom line in this company, at least, is that no one is losing much or any pay because of the emergency. Next week? Next month?

Over here, there’s a lot of social pressure going on from the officers. To a man, they are militant about keeping COVID19 off the boats. The few naysayers in the crew who discount the danger have been identified and shutdown by the officers. A case of the common cold aboard a boat will be viewed as evidence that someone didn’t follow the the rules, and my guess is that many captains would demand I fire an individual with a sneeze and a runny nose for threatening the lives of others.

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Concerning our healthcare professionals. The weekend before last the headlines & POTUS used the phrases, “There will be Death like we haven’t seen before”. It made me want to cry. The images of the soldiers in the boats off of the French coast on D-Day came to mind. Like those soldiers from decades past, our healthcare professionals knew what was coming when the doors opened. They knew many of them would get infected & some would die. It would mostly be a matter of luck of who made it & who didn’t. But still they ran out of their doors to do their duty to help save the nation. Again, it makes me want to cry thinking of those brave people.


Ditto sir, we worry for our friends.

Sand_Pebble, I can relate to the absurdities of the company you may or not be associated with, shit is crazy right now. Shoreside is hiding in their own closet. I have shared a few of your posts with my bride, she says you make more sense than some posters, including me… Ain’t going against my bride of 40 years. I hope you are safe sir.

I’m safe at home finally. I made it here a few days ago & sleeping in a tent on the screened in back porch until I’m sure I haven’t brought anything home to the family. Last night it was in the low 30’s so tonight I’ll have an electric blank with me.

You guys need to stop the social distancing & get out more if my ramblings are starting to make sense. My wife always tells me I’m as nutty as squirrel poop.

But not about the healthcare professionals. It’s not going to make their jobs any easier, erase the terrible things they seen or bring their fallen back but they should know they will get some marble on the National Mall for their heroics. This group really stepped up. We would have been ruined if these individuals decided to protect themselves & stayed home.


NIH is looking for volunteers for antibody tests.

I don’t see why anyone manning vessels wouldn’t be at the front of the line.

I think about these people every day. When I see some of them wearing trash bags and reusing masks against the backdrop of greedy hoarders holding out for the highest bidder and defective crap coming out of China, it makes my blood boil.

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The trash bag thing was was incredibly disappointing to see. As mariners, flying, taking cabs,launches, etc., I do worry for them. Perhaps selfish on my part, but glad my bride and I are retired and staying in our space. Fixing a lot of broken shit around here in the meantime.

My son as some of you know perhaps can’t sail anymore due to a health issue. Still working on that. His present job in the port is overseeing the loading/unloading of containerships. Before he can enter the facility, he has to get a temperature check. While in the office, they are doing the social distance thing. One idiot went down on the ship and exposed himself (or them) to whatever with a large part of the ships crew. The port is doing what they can, but you can’t fix STUPID. Breaks my heart I have to stay away from my son and his bride, but we all have to do the right thing for a bit.

Re: Thinking About COVID19 Screening, Phase 2
What will get the economy going again? On-demand COVID19 testing with results in 48-hours or less.

Social distancing, hand-washing, gloves, and masks, are all working to decrease the rate of infection. Screening rules to prevent COVID19 getting aboard a vessel are working for most voyages. But on-demand testing will be the game changer.

When enough 48-hour testing kits become available, mariners preparing to join a vessel can get tested a couple of times before sailing. For example, nine days out and three days before joining a vessel.

A positive test a week before boarding would warn the mariner of the illness, and give whoever staffs the vessel time to find a replacement. A second test result 24-hours before sailing would be the final “pass”. Yes, the mariner could get infected in the 72-hours between test and boarding, but screening rules for isolation and hygiene would still be in place to minimize the chance.

Isolation and exposure rules would be eased based on testing. Maybe a week of self isolation after the first negative test, instead of fourteen days.

With readily available on-demand testing, airlines could schedule “non-infectious flights”: only people with proof of negative COVID19 tests in the last 72 hours could board. Everyone wears masks and gloves. Instead of checkerboard seating with alternating empty rows, the airlines can seat people in every row, with an empty seat in-between.

The solution to the entire problem is vaccination. A year away, perhaps. Until then, on-demand testing.

I call bullshit on your sea-story. Second negative test? So three tests? Is he the President’s son-in-law? It’s hard to get even one test let alone two, never mind three! :dizzy_face:

Believe what you want. Like I said, this is something that “might” of happened. I’m not going into details on such a scenario for my own personal & professional reasons.

But here are some things to think about to help you expand your vision of what might & might not be possible.

  1. If a person shows covid19 symptoms offshore, works on a vessel with a helideck & a client willing to pay to get a helicopter for them to keep a multi million dollar operation going do you think any old helicopter would pick up this potential infectious person? Or would it be a medivac chopper that worked out of a hospital?

  2. If the client was rich enough to send out a medivac helicopter for a lowly employee who had a temp would they have the funds & connections to buy as many tests as they saw fit?

  3. If that employee was sent home from that hospital because he was in good health & only showed mild symptoms couldn’t he easily get tested again in a week or so by his local government once he was at home?

  4. If he tested negative after his first positive test could it be expected that the company that he worked for could have their own in-house doctor who ran his own clinic that had Covid19 tests?

I think you under estimate the power of money & million dollar operation DeckApe. I believe about anything now a days.


Sorry to bother you again. I know each company is different & have their own policies but just wondering if yours has made a plan for guys to get back to work after they test positive for covid19? I have heard rumors about some companies sending their positive guys to their in house doctors for a negative test before they are cleared for work again.

I completely understand if you guys haven’t figured it out yet or if you don’t want to go into on an open forum.

To my mind, getting a mariner back to work after they have contracted COVID19 and subsequently tested negative for being infectious is a no-brainer. In Washington-state the tests would be available for them (unlike someone who isn’t showing symptoms). Negative test, good to sail.

But we have had no cases of COVID19, so I can’t with certainty how the testing would go down exactly. And I haven’t heard the experience of other companies in this regard.

By the way, I did inquire with a USCG unit in Alaska whether they could medevac a mariner with COVID19 off a vessel. They said they would, if the case was critical.