Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Early in June the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) announced the publication of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance, Fourth Edition
This Guidance has been produced by the ICS to help shipping companies and seafarers follow health advice provided by UN agencies and others in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), under the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR).
It is understood that this Guidance is for use on all types of ship and attempts to take into account the needs of both cargo and passenger ships. It is recognised that cargo ships are unlikely to have a fully trained doctor or nurse on board and that medical treatment on cargo ships will be provided by a crew member with training to Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) medical requirements.
This fourth edition replaces the ICS guidance published in September 2020 and should be read in conjunction with the three Covid-19 guidance documents published by ICS in 2021.
New in the Fourth Edition
The latest edition features the following:
The new publication at 3MB may be downloaded at no charge here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance, Fourth Edition | International Chamber of Shipping (ics-shipping.org)
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has welcomed the World Health Organization’s decision to name seafarers as one of the groups of transportation workers that should be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination in instances of limited supplies. This was reported on 22 July.
Updated guidance for Stage II of its vaccine roadmap from the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) states: ‘Seafarers and air crews who work on vessels that carry goods and no passengers, with special attention to seafarers who are stranded at sea and prevented from crossing international borders for crew change due to travel restrictions.’
IMO Secretary General Lim commented: ‘I am glad to see that the WHO recognises the importance of vaccinating seafarers on cargo ships.
‘These individuals are responsible for transporting over 80% of all goods around the world, including food, medicine and vaccine supplies – and have continued to do so despite extremely challenging circumstances. Seafarers will play a key role in the global recovery, and barriers to international travel and crew change must be removed.’
On 28 September 2019, a cargo tank containing styrene monomer on board the Cayman Islands registered chemical tanker Stolt Groenland ruptured causing an explosion and fire. The tanker was moored alongside a general cargo berth in Ulsan, Republic of Korea and the Singapore registered chemical tanker Bow Dalian was moored outboard. Ignition of the styrene monomer vapour resulted in a fireball, which reached the road bridge above. Both vessels were damaged, and two crew suffered minor injuries. Fifteen emergency responders were injured during the fire-fighting, which lasted for over six hours.
Rupture of the styrene monomer tank resulted from a runaway polymerisation that was initiated by elevated temperatures caused by heat transfer from other chemical cargoes. Elevated temperatures caused the inhibitor, added to prevent the chemical’s polymerisation during the voyage, to deplete more rapidly than expected. Although the styrene monomer had not been stowed directly adjacent to heated cargo, the potential for heat transfer through intermediate tanks was not fully appreciated or assessed.