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The International Chamber of Shipping updates its health guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) to reflect the latest thinking and advice on the virus.

The new guidance is a fully updated version of International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS) “Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers”, last updated in May. The revised introduction reflects the situation nine months on from the start of the global pandemic and adds two new annexes; one on managing multiple cases of COVID-19 onboard ships and another on PCR testing. It is worth noting that the ICS, in line with Dr. Ingrid H. Johansen at the Norwegian Centre for Maritime and Diving Medicine, emphasises that testing of on-signing seafarers is most effective when it is combined with a period of quarantine before embarkation. See also our insight “COVID-19 tests may give false sense of security” of 15 September 2020.

In addition, the latest version of the ICS’ guidance includes updated practical advice on the use of face masks, renewing prescriptions, support and logistics supplies, decision making for on board suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases and measures to enhance mental health and wellbeing.

According to ICS, the guidance is for use on all types of ship and aims to recognise the unique needs of both cargo and passenger ships. The measures highlighted in the guidance include advice on managing port entry restrictions, shipboard measures to address risks associated with COVID-19, managing cases of COVID-19 on board ship when at sea, assistance for all seafarers to access medical care when in ports, and dealing with other medical issues during COVID-19. The ICS also says that the guidance should be read in conjunction with its “COVID-19 – Protocols to Mitigate the Risks of Cases On Board Ships”.


Looking for additional sources of information on COVID-19?  On Gard’s COVID-19 hot-topic webpage you can find a compilation of links to relevant websites, guidelines, and Gard material that may assist ship operators, masters and crews to stay alert and prepare and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.