Refers to: Owners/Operators/Managers of Panamanian flagged vessels, PHRS Representatives/ Surveyors
Action Date: Immediate
The purpose of subject newsletter is to provide all vessels owners/operators and local interested parties an update of the situation on the outbreak of the novel corona virus2019-nCoV as per Merchant Marine Notice 02/2020, which can be found here.
Through the Novel Corona virus (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 Panama Maritime Authority recommends monitoring 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 on board ships from the novel corona virus, has issued circular letters providing information and guidance. The latest IMO Circular Letter No. 4204, 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 on board ships are provided with accurate and relevant information on the corona virus 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 corona virus 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 China ports are advised to wear masks and take precautionary measures to avoid getting infected with a new corona virus and prevent its potential spreading.
2. When entering China ports, seafarers are expected to remain on board their ships and disembark their vessels only when it is absolutely necessary.
3. In case of any suspected case of corona virus is found on board, the ship it should reported to the local authorities and owners immediately and arranges to seek professional medical assistance from ashore for the affected crew member/s as early as possible.
4. At the same time, proper prevention and separation measures should be taken to avoid contact with other crew members to reduce the possibility of any virus being spread.
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 the event that the operating company has coordinated an inspection or audit in the affected ports of China and if it cannot be carried out by prevention measures, for that reason, it may request an authorization from this Administration to postpone it to the next port.
We recommend monitoring the situation by consulting web pages maintained by the WHO, which can be found here and other public health authorities and evaluate the risks present in the next port of call.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any clarifications you may need on the above.
February 14th, 2020 - PHRS Head Office