The following is text of a news release from the International Maritime Organization (IMO):
(LONDON) — Shipping is vital to the world supply chain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that all personnel involved are protected from infection, including those on board ships and shore personnel who may need to temporarily go on ships or interact with seafarers.
IMO has circulated World Health Organization (WHO) guidance on the safe and effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE), to support decisions on use of PPE to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection for seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, passengers and others on board ships. This guidance also applies to shore personnel intending to go on board (such as pilots, port workers, port state control officers, shipʹs agents, etc.); and when any of these people interact with each other. The PPE guidance is available here.
To support decision making and risk assessment, IMO has also circulated practical measures to address COVID-19 risks for all people involved on ships and in ports when they may need to interact with each other, available here. Recognizing that there are differences in national requirements, the guidelines propose a straightforward system to evaluate the risks and communicate the control measures that will be put in place, by mutual agreement, to reduce infection risk. They also propose simple steps and precautions to take if attendance on board a ship is unavoidable. These include minimizing the number of persons attending; using outer walkways rather than access through the crew accommodation; frequently cleaning hands and maintaining social distancing.