Liverpool Seafarers Centre has urged seafarers to be aware of advice relating to the coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan City, China, a public health emergency of international concern.
The condition causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms which usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough, with symptoms worse in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Most people are likely to recover, but it is advisable to take some precautions.
Seafarers travelling to or from countries affected by the virus should be mindful of protecting themselves and others if coming into contact with the germs.
When on board a ship, seafarers should make the captain or medical officer of their vessel aware if they or another person starts to display symptoms.
These include a fever, runny nose, headache, coughing and sore throat.
If you are going ashore, avoid direct physical contact with anyone displaying symptoms and wear a mask covering your mouth and nose when in a high-risk area.
Keep your hands clean regularly, using an alcohol rub is available and seek medical advice immediately if you start to display symptoms.
The International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) has issued advice for shipping companies and seafarers, including:
- Do not restrict embarkation/disembarkation of seafarers in non-affected ports
- Do not restrict necessary ship visits by port agents, chaplains, service personnel and others.
- Do not visit food markets in China. Avoid provision of fish and poultry in China.
- Do not consume raw eggs, milk, meat.
- For the galley: Observe strict food hygiene to avoid cross-contamination
- Store facial protection for all crew (five pieces per person).
- Provide influenza vaccination, alcohol-based hand rub and facial protection to ship inspector and other company employees who travel to China.
- If a person onboard falls sick and has been travelling to affected areas 2-12 days before embarkation, the person must stay in their cabin. Consult a medical doctor in the next port.
- If a sick person is on board of the ship, fill the maritime declaration of health and notify port authority.