Coronavirus advice for yacht crew

In the last few weeks, the Coronavirus has rapidly spread beyond the location of its original outbreak in Wuhan, China, and it comes as no surprise that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. During a recent press conference, the WHO reported that there have been 34,598 confirmed cases in China and 288 cases in 24 countries outside of China.

As the spread of the virus continues to increase globally, so does the risk posed to international seafarers and yacht crew. There has already been a number of seafarers infected, including the crew and passengers onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, which now has 66 cases of the virus confirmed. The Singapore Yacht Show has also recently been postponed as a result of the country raising its disease risk assessment to orange.

Yacht crew are particularly at risk due to the contained crew quarters on many vessels and the close contact between guests and crew. It’s specifically important that crew take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the virus if a fellow crew member or guest shows symptoms and has recently travelled from one of the affected regions.

The WHO has provided some practical advice to avoid spreading and contracting the virus. Specific to seafarers, The International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) has also produced some guidelines which crew should follow:

  • Do not restrict embarkation /disembarkation of seafarers in non-affected ports

  • Do not restrict necessary ship visits by port agents, chaplains, service personnel and others.

  • Do not visit Food Markets in China. Avoid the provision of fish and poultry in China.

  • Do not consume raw eggs, milk, meat.

  • For galley: Observe strict food hygiene to avoid cross-contamination

  • Store facial protection for all crew (5 pieces /per person).

  • Provide influenza vaccination, alcohol-based hand rub and facial protection to ship inspector and other company employees who travel to China.

  • If a person onboard falls sick AND has been travelling to affected areas 2-12 days before embarkation, the person must stay in their cabin. Consult a Medical Doctor in the next port.

  • If a sick person is on board of the ship, fill the Maritime declaration of health and notify port authority.

In addition to the guidelines above, the following links contain further advice and guidance to crew and yacht management companies: