Refers to: Owners/Operators/Managers of Panamanian flagged vessels, PHRS Representatives/ Surveyors
Action Date: Immediate
The purpose of subject newsletter is to inform all vessels owners/operators and interested parties about the modifications made on paragraphs 1, 2, 9 of MMN02/2020 and the inclusion of paragraph 10 regarding an update of the situation on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Through the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Report, the World Health Organization (WHO), has declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. It is still possible to interrupt the virus spread, with the proper implementation of measures to control this outbreak. That is why PMA recommends to monitor the situation by continuously consulting advisors and situation reports issued by the WHO.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) based on the recommendations developed by the WHO, on the precautions to be taken to minimize the risk crews, seafarers, passengers and other persons onboard ships from the novel coronavirus, has issued circular letters providing information and guidance.
The latest IMO Circular Letter No. 4204, which can be found here , provides the WHO advises, reminding people of the basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infection and urge all interested parties (companies, ship managers, crewing agents, shipping agencies, etc.) to publish the information and ensure that crews, seafarers, passengers and others onboard ships are provided with accurate and relevant information on the coronavirus outbreak and on the measures to reduce the risk of exposure if they are likely to be engaged on ships trading to and from ports in coronavirus affected areas.
In view of the above mentioned, the Panama Maritime Authority recommends to implement the following measures on board ships:
1. Seafarers calling at worldwide ports are advised to wear masks and take precautionary measures to avoid getting infected with a new coronavirus and prevent its potential spreading.
2. When entering worldwide ports, seafarers are expected to remain onboard their ships and disembark their vessels only when it is absolutely necessary.
3. In case of any suspected case of coronavirus is found onboard, the ship it should reported to the local authorities and owners immediately and arranges to seek professional medical assistance from ashore for the affected crewmember /s as early as possible.
4. At the same time, proper prevention and separation measures should be taken to avoid contact with other crewmembers to reduce the possibility of any virus being spread. F-410 (DCCM) V.00
5. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing on board or ashore.
6. Strictly enforce the ISPS requirements on ensuring that unauthorized personnel do not board the ship throughout the ships port calls.
7. Frequent hand washing.
8. Shipping agencies in Panama, must inform the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and Harbor Master (captaincy of ports) if any crew member or passenger is reported with any of the symptoms of the corona virus and must coordinate with local health authorities.
9. In those cases where an ISPS verification (interim, initial, intermediate, renewal and additional audits cannot be performed due to the situation of COVID-19 worldwide the operator company/owner/ or Recognized Security Organization may request an authorization, to postpone the ISPS verification, according to the MMC-359 (item 10). 10. From March 23 until next Friday, March 27, the Security Level of Panamanian Port will be raised to the Ports of Colon Container Terminal (CCT), Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) and Cristobal Ports, from NP1 to NP2. This Administration encourages all the operator companies; implement the security measures on board in accordance with the provisions of the Ship Security Plan (SSP).
We recommend monitoring the situation by consulting webpages maintained by the WHO and other public health authorities and evaluate the risks present in the next port of call.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more information you may need on the above.
March 26th, 2020 - PHRS Head Office