The Government of India, vide DGS Order No. 04 of 2020 (copy attached) has provided instructions to vessels, all major and minor ports in India for dealing with Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to ensure continued operations of vessels and ports. The instructions includes following;
Submission of Maritime Declaration of Health by the Master to the concerned health authorities of the port and to the port authorities prior arrival at first port of call in India. In case a person on board the vessel is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the same is to be explicitly mentioned in the Maritime Declaration of Health.
In case of any suspected person on board the vessel, the master is to 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 are also to be isolated at appropriate locations as decided by the master. The master must also ensure that all instructions issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, 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. 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 MoHFW, Govt. of India. Vessels with infected person are also to be sanitized as per the extant protocols for dealing with COVID-19 pandemic.
Vessels arriving from ports of infected countries identified for mandatory quarantine and travel ban by MoHFW, Govt. of India before 14 days of departure from the infected port, or having seafarers embarked on the vessel who have been in infected regions within 14 days of arrival at any Indian port are required to comply with additional measures as given in the Annex 1 of the attached DGS Order 04 of 2020. The updated list of infected countries may be obtained from the website of MoHFW, Govt. of India.
Vessels arriving from any port in China to have the necessary quarantine period of 14 days.
Stoppages of a vessel at any port of infected countries only for bunkering purposes will not be counted for the calculation of 14 days from port of departure.
Vessels that have arrived at Indian port after 14 days of departure from an infected port need not comply with the additional requirements specified in Annex 1 of attached DGS Order No. 04 of 2020.
Ports which are not able to comply with the additional requirements specified in Annex 1 of the attached DGS Order must not allow the vessels to berth for vessels which have arrived within 14 days from the infected countries.
Pilot must normally not be assigned to any vessel unless pratique is granted to the vessel. Prior boarding of pilot, the master of the vessel must reconfirm to the pilot that all persons on board the vessel are healthy and there are no suspected cases of persons infected by COVID-19 on board the vessel. The master of the vessel must also ensure that all the areas through which the pilot is likely to pass are appropriately disinfected and sanitized as per the required protocol and shall further confirm about the same to the pilot before the pilot boards the vessel.
All ships personnel who are likely to interact with the pilot and bridge team must be wearing appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) at all times while the pilot is on the vessel. Pilot shall also be wearing appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
DGS vide Addendum No. 2 to DGS Order No. 04 of 2020 (copy attached) has further advised following in respect of PPE.
Pilots or inspection staff embarking on vessel with no suspect case in ship, the risk is low and following protective gears are advised:
a) Triple layered mask
If the pilot or inspection staff embarking on vessel which has a suspect case of COVID-19 in the ship, then the following protective gears are advised:
a) N-95 or equivalent mask
c) Shoe cover
Port personnel embarking the vessel but not coming in contact with the ship crew:
a) Triple layered mask
Personnel involved in cargo operations are advised the following protective gears:
a) Triple layered mask
c) Regular maritime PPE like shoes, helmet, working gloves etc. to be worn as per the existing practices of the ports
Hand hygiene at all times to be practiced.
Disposal of PPE: Disposal of PPE is to be as per the guidelines of MoHFW issued from time to time.
It is to be ensured that the number of persons required to board the vessel is kept to the bare minimum. Personnel who may be required to board the vessel such as ship agent, cargo personnel, custom and immigration authorities etc must always be aware of the pandemic and have appropriate PPE while on board the vessel.
There is no restriction of sign on and sign off of Indian seafarers in ports in India.
Vessels operating solely between ports in India are to exercise due diligence and are not required to by fully bound by the aforesaid instructions.
Ship owners/ operators and Masters are advised to be guided by above and ensure compliance.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.