AMSA Issues Ebola Virus Advice
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice to shipowners and ship operators regarding the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa. The notice also served to offer advice on the risks posed to seafarers calling in countries affected by the outbreak.
AMSA noted recommendations which have been issued by maritime stakeholders:
- The Masters of ships calling at ports in the affected countries should ensure that all passengers, special personnel and seafarers are aware of the risks, how the virus can be spread and how to reduce the risk.
- The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code requirements on ensuring that unauthorised personnel do not board the vessel should be strictly enforced throughout the duration of the vessel being in those ports.
- The Master should give careful consideration to granting any shore leave whilst in impacted ports.
- The shipowner/operator should avoid making crew changes in the ports of an affected country.
- After departure from the impacted ports all passengers, special personnel and seafarers should be aware of the symptoms and report any occurring symptoms immediately to the person in charge of medical care or the Master.
- In the event of a suspected diagnosis of EVD on a ship, immediate expert medical advice should be sought and the event should be reported as soon as possible to the next port of call.