DGS issues fresh instructions on operations of vessels & ports

2020-03-24 10:51:18 Marine News

The Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS) have come out with fresh instructions on dealing with Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) vide DGS orders, maritime advisories and notices.

Vessels arriving from Ports of infected countries identified for mandatory quarantine and travel ban by the Union Health Ministry before 14 days of departure from the infected port shall need to comply with additional measures.

These measues will also apply to vessels having seafarers who have been in infected regions within 14 days of arrival at any Indian port.

Vessels from any port in China to be quarantined for 14 days

Vessels arriving from any port in China to have the necessary quarantine period of 14 days

The Master of a vessel, before arrival at its first port of call in India, shall ascertain the state of health of each person on board the vessel and submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the concerned health authorities of the port and to the port authorities. 

The Maritime Declaration of Health shall be forwarded at least 72 hours prior arrival of the vessel at the port.

If the voyage duration from last port of departure is less than 72 hours, the Maritime Declaration of Health shall be informed to the Port immediately on departure from the port.

In addition, the information required by the local health authorities of the port, like temperature chart, individual health declaration, etc. shall also be provided by the Master as per the directives of the local health authorities of the port.

Master to mention in Maritime Declaration of Health if a person onboard exhibits symptoms 

If the Master of the vessel ascertains that a person on board the vessel is exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, the same shall be explicitly mentioned in the Maritime Declaration of Health being forwarded to the health authorities and to the port.

If Master’s declaration found to be incorrect, he is liable to be prosecuted

If the Maritime declaration of health given by the Master is found to be incorrect and not reflecting the factual conditions of health of persons on board the vessel, the Master is liable to be prosecuted as per applicable laws.

All agents of the vessel shall ensure that this information regarding possible prosecution for incorrect declaration is clearly informed to the vessel before its arrival at Indian ports.

Master to isolate suspected person onboard the vessel

In case of any suspected person on board the vessel, the Master shall ensure that the suspected person is isolated in the ship’s hospital, or other suitable location on the vessel.

All other persons who may have come in contact with the suspected person shall also be isolated at appropriate locations as decided by the Master.

The Master shall also ensure that all instructions issued by the Indian Health Ministry as well as the guidance issued on dealing with Covid-19 matters by World Health Organization (WHO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other applicable trade bodies are complied with at all times.

Vessels having persons suspected of Covid-19 will necessarily be required to be monitored by the health authorities and put in quarantine, if necessary.

If samples test positive vessel to remain in quarantine

Samples from the suspected person will be taken and tested as per the instructions of the health authorities. If the samples are tested positive, the vessel will remain in quarantine and the infected person(s) will be dealt with as per the procedures laid down by the Indian health ministry.

Vessels with infected person shall also be sanitised as per the extant protocols for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

DG Shipping in a communiqué that the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across a large number of nations is an unprecedented situation in recent times

To slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its impact, travel advisories have been issued by many jurisdictions including India.

Shipping services to continue to be operational

However, Shipping services are required to continue to be operational so that vital goods and essential commodities like fuel, medical supplies, foodgrains, etc. are delivered and to ensure that the economic activity of the nation is not disrupted.

It is, therefore, important that the flow of goods by sea should not be needlessly disrupted without compromising the safety of life and protection of the environment. In view of the same, it has been decided that for the continued operation of vessels and ports, the following shall be complied with by all stakeholders till further orders,” DG Shipping said.

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