COVID-19: Will Seafarers Be Allowed To Disembark?


  • Ships and seafarers play a critical role in keeping global trade routes alive. 
  • Preserving their health and well-being is top priority.  
  • The protocols are put in place with the goal of ensuring the safety of the crews and communities. 

With COVID-19 impacting the whole world, the shipping industry has gone for a toss. Especially, the safety of the seafarers has been the greatest of all concerns. Moreover, in the US there has been persistent questions on how seafarers would be handled in this turbulent situation. 

On the whole, there raises a question, whether the seafarers would be allowed to disembark? 

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority provided the public some answers in the News Tribune. 

  • U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Centers for Disease Control decide on the approval to embark or disembark pilots and crew. 
  • All pilots and crew must be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms,
  • And 96-hour advance notice of any suspected cases must be provided to the lead agencies and control centers prior to inspectors boarding the vessel.

Ships underway on Lake Superior should contact the U.S. Coast Guard or the CDC’s Minneapolis Quarantine Station on immediate basis regarding any suspected COVID-19 cases or symptoms.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway 

These two account for a transportation network that moves more than 200 million metric tons of cargo annually. 

They help in supplying North America and the world with materials that sustain life and drive the economy: grain for food, iron ore for steel, stone and cement for construction, coal and project cargoes for power generation, plus salt, sand and a variety of other important goods.  These cargos are critical to helping the region and the world weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priority to sailors and dock workers

They’re so critical that federal and state governments recognized Great Lakes sailors, dock workers, and others laboring in Great Lakes ports as essential employees in the first days of the response to the pandemic. They need to keep working in ways that are safe for them and for us in port. The protocols were put in place with the goal of ensuring that.

Need additional reassurance?International seafarers constitute a low-risk group for contracting COVID-19, as they spend most of their time at sea isolated from the global community,” Director of Communications and Marketing Jayson Hron wrote. And,Ship owners have preventative hygiene protocols onboard to protect the health and safety of their crews during long voyages.”

It is clear that those two agencies will actively monitor the situation throughout the shipping season to reduce the risk of seafarers affected by COVID-19. 

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Source: News Tribune


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