IMO CIRCULAR SERVES AS A VIRTUAL MANUAL
FOR MARINER PROTECTION FROM EBOLAPhoto: U.S. Army
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to MAGI Surveyor Bill Riley for this corrected information. We originally published this post citing IMO Circular 3848. Visitors reported having difficulty locating a source for a copy of this circular. Always vigilant and correct as all MAGI Maritime Alliance Group Inc.) Surveyors pledge to be Bill Tracked down the problem and sent us the following. The correct IMO circular number is 3484 . Somehow we got the last two digits of the circular number transposed. We now correct it in the text below. But as befits a MAGI Bill didn't stop there But found a free down load for the circular. Read the circular on line or down load it in PDf format @ http://www.ukpandi.com/fileadmin/uploads/uk-pi/LP%20Documents/Circular_Letter_No_3484_-_Ebola_Virus_Disease__Secretariat_.pdf Also see "PROTECTING MARINERS FROM EBOLA @ MARINE LINK
"Any person with an illness consistent with EVD, or any person who has had contact with or is confirmed as having contracted EVD should not be allowed to join a ship or travel internationally unless that travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation. In any event, all persons are advised to avoid such contacts and routinely practice careful hygiene, like thorough hand-washing." IMO (International Maritime Organization ) Circular 3884
America would of course be well advised to follow the International Maritime Organization's advice and prohibit the routine transfer of the virus by prohibiting travel to and from the major infected areas until the epidemic is under control. To take such a measure which most sensible nations have done would require adult leadership in Washington. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Meanwhile if you are trying to run an American flag ship , offshore service vessel, or drilling vesel that will be in or near Embola infested areas you could probably use a preventative measures measures manual right about now. The closest you're likely to come to such a thing is IMO Circular 3884.
Of course protective measures for your crew will cost the owners money and that's never a career enhancive move. We suggest that you phrase your request for the Circular and the necessary items to carry out the protocol in terms of compliance and disruption of revenue vice common sense or human decency. But of course neither the USCG nor the USPHS has put out any black letter regulations, so how are you going to argue Compliance. The answer is in the Port State Regulations which may or may not be in place at the moment but usually follow IMO recommendations. As the epidemic spreads you can't predict where or when a port state will implement the IMO circular requirements, so to avoid the loss of revenue that delay of pratique can cause. That some mariner might die but for the lack of these measures , as you know has little persuasive power in the corporate board room. Preventing lost revenues, even cancelled contracts or contract penalties gets their attention every time. Now what kind of measures does IMO Circular 3884 call for?
IMO Circular 3884 Admonishes all coastal states and non-affected countries to strengthen the capacity to detect and immediately contain new cases, while avoiding measures that will create unnecessary interference with international travel or trade." Obviously one anticipated near universal regulatory change will be in the requirements for radio free pratique. Basically if you have cleared from a nation with an Ebola emergency you will not be allowed to enter your next port without a boarding and inspection by health authorities. A time may be coming where just ti get underway a ship master may have to demonstrate the ability to carry out proper medical isolation aboard his vessel which will include certain personal protective equipment and germicides. This really shouldn't be anything new to U.S. licensed masters and mates because the procedures are almost identical to the "plague port" protocols everyone had to answer question on for the Chief Mate and Master's license examinations.
Referenced in the IMO circular is guidance from the World Health Authority . The relevant guide is WHO GUIDANCE 4.2.5 ‘Guidance for ships and shipping companies’. The guidance is designed to provide information on how to deal with a situation where ships’ crew encounter an infected person, be it crew membember, passenger, visitor. or stowaway. Because of the increased risk of Ebola all stowaways must now be subjected to some level of medical isolation.
The following precautions are applicable:
· Keep the affected person's compartmental entry closed, if not placed in a specially prepared isolation room on board;
· Provide information about the risk of EVD transmission to persons who will take care of the patient or enter their cabin or isolation room' personal protective equipment and instructions on how to use it.
· Maintain a sickbay log listing all people entering the cabin or isolation room, all of whom should be considered contacts unless a diagnostic test is reported as negative;
Moreover, the WHO guidance stipulates that anyone who enters the cabin or isolation room to provide care to the affected person or to clean the cabin wears PPE (personal protective clothing). The types and specification of PPE are stipulated in the guidance. And it is a fair bet that such persons will not be allowed ashore until 21 days after exposure assuming continued absence of symptoms.
As pointed out in the WHO guide , ship masters need to be aware of an increased risk of stowaways and a higher probability of ships encountering fleeing migrants who may be infected when in the vicinity of West Africa. The MARITIME EXECUTIVE reports that Martek Marine Ltd, has developed a shipboard package called the EBOLAGUARD kit which meets or exceeds all IMO/ WHO requirements. To learn more about this all inclusive kit click on http://www.martek-marine.com/Home.aspx