Van Ameyde Marine, the global maritime consultancy and surveying firm, advises ship managers to stay aware of Covid and ensure crews are fully vaccinated in the run up to a new wave of infections from a new virus strain.
Michael Robertson, senior marine consultant for the company’s McAuslands division, said: “With reports in Europe and Asia indicating an increase in the number of Covid cases, ship managers and crews should not let their guard down. If there is another wave this winter, we could see ships and crews quarantined again and trade disrupted. There are reports of a new strain of the virus emerging in China, so I don’t think Covid is going to go away anytime soon. »
While a Covid infection may be less severe for someone who is fully vaccinated, Van Ameyde McAuslands’ crew care team are concerned that some sailors have yet to receive their booster shots.
“In the UK we have seen an increase in vaccinations to keep reminders up to date but, in general, seafarers are not as vaccinated as they perhaps should have been. Some seafarers would certainly have missed to get their boosters in the time required for them to be effective,” Robertson said.
Charlotte Malkin, Crew Care Coordinator, Van Ameyde McAuslands, said: “While the statistics from Neptune’s statement indicate a seafarer vaccination rate of 89.3%, which is likely an overestimate, we are seeing that some crew members only had one or two of the missed doses and boosters while at sea. We’re doing a lot of vaccinations and testing right now.
As travel entry requirements for many countries have eased, the Crew Wellness Team are increasingly conducting organized Antigen tests for crew at airports, with results sent directly to the responsible for the vessel and to the individual within 30 minutes.
“When traveling to Asia, a PCR test is always a travel entry requirement. We continue to do PCRs for crews returning home to the Philippines, for example. Chinese Embassy-approved PCRs are also required if vessels are to visit Chinese ports or if crews are returning home from China,” Malkin said.
In the event of a positive test, Van Ameyde McAuslands quarantines the seafarer in an approved hotel, provides social support and carries out tests at regular intervals. If symptoms persist or progress, the crew care team transports the person to hospital.
The maritime consultancy also advises ship operators to keep managers and crew updated on the rapidly changing monkeypox situation and how to mitigate the risk of infection.
“We are watching quite closely the implications of the outbreak of monkeypox, which is now proving to be transmissible by touch at some point in the incubation period. P&I Club customers are already issuing reviews based on our recommendations,” Robertson said.
Katy Peters, founder and CEO of 360 Health, a medical service provider that supports the Crew Care team with vaccination supplies, medical escorts and nursing support, said: “Similar to Covid-19, the monkeypox infection is likely to cause flu-like symptoms – fever, headache etc. but the incubation period can be up to 21 days. A rash usually appears within one to five days of the onset of symptoms and it can be on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. The disease usually lasts between 2 and 4 weeks.
Van Ameyde Marine encourages crews to practice good and frequent hand washing and advises against close contact with anyone showing signs of extensive rashes, blisters and rashes.
If seafarers show signs of mild monkeypox infection, they should take medication to manage the symptoms. If they develop more severe symptoms, they should be isolated in a separate room to prevent the infection from spreading to other crew members. Social distancing measures should be maintained with disposable gloves and face masks worn near an infected person.
Van Ameyde Marine also advises crews not to sweep and vacuum infected areas to avoid disturbing virus particles. Infected bedding, clothing and towels should be carefully placed in plastic bags without shaking the items before transporting them to washing areas. Items should be washed in boiling water over 60°C.
“Vessel operators should notify their P&I Clubs immediately if they suspect they have a case of monkeypox on board any of their vessels,” Robertson said. “The Club can provide advice and guidance and ask experts to help as different ports will react differently to the presence of monkeypox on board a visiting vessel, just as they do to Covid-19.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the outbreak of monkeypox in several countries constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Source: Marine Van Ameyde