Any one of us can fall sick with a viral infection. What do we do? We take prescribed medicines and try to stay away from our family and friends until we have recovered. This is us being ‘socially responsible’.
The same applies on a ship, although life onboard is in many ways quite unique. With crew travelling to different parts of the world the risk of falling sick with a viral or other infection is high. From one crew member, it can easily transmit to others onboard quite rapidly. The ship is afterall a confined space where the crew work and live in close proximity, and more importantly there is no doctor onboard.
When crew members are unwell because of a viral infection, it is important that they exercise social responsibility. This has two main aspects:
- First, taking care of own health and recovering from infection; and
- Second, making sure that other crew members do not get infected, i.e. preventing an outbreak.
For the first aspect, for the quick and safe recovery of sick crew members, it is important that they report any symptoms to the senior management onboard, which can then take appropriate actions, including contacting a doctor ashore if necessary, asking the shore management for guidance and if need be, the port authorities. It is very likely that medicine(s) will be prescribed. Although, it is the responsibility of the sick seafarer to take any medication prescribed, onboard management should also follow up on this.
For the second aspect, which is about limiting the spread of the virus, there are quite a few transmission barriers that can be implemented, such as face masks and even isolating the infected crew member. If it is necessary to isolate the crew member, it is important that isolations are managed with care.
Not only our own health, but also that of our fellow seafarers is in our hands. Understanding that is the start of being socially responsible.
Loss prevention poster: Having symptoms of a viral infection?
Alert: Be a handwash hero!
Loss prevention poster: Be a handwash hero
Loss prevention poster: High-touch surfaces are hotspots for germs
External sources of information