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Health and safety

Public Health England publish Covid-19 FAQs for maritime

24 April 2020

Public Health England have published FAQs on Covid-19 for the maritime sector, which includes procedures for safe access for pilots on ships entering UK ports.

Pilots and other port and maritime operatives have been identified as 'Key Workers' by the Government and therefore expected to carry out their roles in as normal a way as possible whilst being mindful of advice on limiting the potential spread of Covid-19.

The guidance is intended to supplement other local transfer advice. It is non statutory and harbour authorities may wish to use sections as appropriate.

PHE acknowledges that recent experience has shown that it is not possible to self-isolate on ships without the risk of continuing transmission. Where Covid-19 is suspected PHE advice is to get people off ships wherever possible.

The same guidance applies as on shore: seriously ill people go to hospital, mildly ill and contacts self-isolate ashore.

The guidance covers procedures on what to do if a ship has a suspected or confirmed infections on board, and whether masters can join infected ships. Pilots are allowed to board ships with confirmed Covid-19 onboard. Pilots do not need to self-isolate after boarding a ship with suspected Covid 19 cases on board, as these individuals with suspected cases should be isolated in their cabins.

The industry is seeking advice from the UK Government about how boarding a vessel with Covid-19 should be approached and what procedure including the specification of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) might be required. Separate advice as how to dress and de-clothe this PPE is also being sought.

PHE confirms that ships with suspected or confirmed Covid 19 cases can dock at UK ports.


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