As the COVID19 pandemic is making life and trade miserable, we all need to take adequate measures to mitigate the exposure risks, especially one is working in closed quarters like a ship. Keeping this in mind, ABS has launched a detailed COVID19 guideline for shipowners and crew.
Let’s take a look at that.
Why is it important to be vigilant?
Early detection, prevention, and control of COVID-19 is important to protect the health of other personnel and avoid transmission of the virus. This section addresses how to prevent the marine and offshore assets
from getting contaminated during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Prevention Management Plan
All asset managers are advised to develop a written plan to prevent the outbreak of disease that includes active measures to minimize the risk of exposure. As persons may be carriers of the virus without exhibiting symptoms, social distancing measures that minimize unnecessary exposure are recommended.
The prevention-management plan should include the descriptions of the following, if applicable:
● Identification of high-risk areas to focus cleaning and disinfection efforts
● Access-control measures for visitors, contractors, pilots, etc.
● Measures to mitigate personnel exposure (personal hygiene, social distancing, etc.)
● Personnel rotation and shift-change procedures
● Port call and liberty policies based on the prevalence of disease in that specific geographical area
● Specific cargo-handling procedures
● Adjustments in work practices, as necessary, to avoid exposure (this may include meetings, meal preparation and service, work teams and any adjustment of work shifts)
● Selection, provision, education and use of PPE
Hand and Respiratory Hygiene
Hand and respiratory hygiene are vital protection measures against transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The following recommendations are derived from general advice provided by the WHO  and based upon
guidance from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) :
● All crew, passengers and visitors should frequently wash their hands using soap and hot water or alcohol-based (at least 70%) hand rub for 20 seconds
● Touching the face, including the mouth, nose and eyes, with unwashed hands should be avoided; in general, physical contact with the mouth, nose and eyes should be minimized.
● All crew, passengers and visitors should cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, wiping and blowing their noses. The tissue should be immediately disposed of into a no-touch waste bin with a lid. If a tissue is not available, a bent elbow can be used to cover the nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing
● Signs and posters displaying proper hand and respiratory hygiene should be placed in highly trafficked areas
● Highly trafficked areas should be equipped with hand-sanitization stations, wherever possible. A supply of hand sanitizer should be maintained within all areas that are normally manned. The touch
points on the hand-sanitizer dispensers should be cleaned regularly
Maintaining social distance of at least 2 m (6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of virus that causes COVID-19. All crew, passengers, and visitors should practice social distancing. Special
attention should be paid to keeping a social distance from people who may be coughing, sneezing, or may have a fever. Persons at high risk for serious disease (older persons and those with existing medical
conditions such as diabetes or heart disease) should take extra precautions to avoid infection as they are more susceptible to severe disease.
To promote social distancing, the following measures are recommended:
● Unnecessary access to areas, especially those of vital importance to the asset (e.g. bridge, engine control rooms, etc.) should be restricted
● Crew should be divided into smaller groups based on their workspaces, duties and shifts. Staggering shifts should be considered. Group activities should be eliminated or minimized
● Use remote communication technology as much as possible
● Limit social contacts among highly specialized and mission critical personnel
● Organize meal schedules to allow only a limited number of people to occupy the galley and dining mess at any given time. Consider removing chairs from dining areas to prevent overcrowding
● Eliminate self-serve dining
Consider sealing off public bathrooms, showers, fitness rooms and other non-essential areas.
Personnel handling, preparing, and serving food should wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer upon each entry into the galley. Level 1 PPE should be worn by all personnel handling, preparing,
and serving food.
Disposable masks should be worn while entering the walk-in refrigerators.
The use of disposable paper towels for drying surfaces and hands should be promoted in the galley.
Accessible disposal containers should be available and emptied as needed.
Food preparation personnel should be separated from the cleaning personnel.
Consider replacing community plates, cups and utensils with individually wrapped or disposable plates, cups, and utensils. Communal condiments should be packaged individually.
Cleaning and Disinfection Practices
An elevated level of cleaning and disinfection activities is recommended to mitigate exposure to COVID-19.
Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses.
At least daily, disinfection should be performed on all frequently touched surfaces after visible dirt has been removed from them. Very highly trafficked areas may require more frequent disinfection. Reusable
equipment and tools should be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each use.
The preferred way to apply cleaning and disinfectant solutions is by mopping or wiping respectively
During cleaning and disinfection, Level 2 PPE should be worn. The PPE selection should also be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations for the disinfection
product being used.
The following subsections present recommended cleaning and disinfection practices for typical spaces found on marine or offshore assets. Cleaning and disinfection measure for other spaces not listed below should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
1. Shared Accommodation Areas
Focus on tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, phones, handles, desks, toilets and sinks.
2. Mess and Main Deck Common Areas
Focus on counter tops, tables and chairs, doors, door handles, drink machines, coffee machines, remote controls, phones, visitor sign-in binder (plastic portion where hands are placed), garbage bins, and switches.
3. Restroom & Shower
Focus on faucets, counter tops, sinks and their drains, soap dispensers, shower surfaces and curtains, toilet seats, fixtures, doors, door handles, garbage bins and switches. Soap dispensers should be checked daily and refilled as necessary. Toilets and urinals should be sprayed daily with disinfectant, scrubbed with a brush and flushed. Care should be taken not to aerosolize or splash while brushing.
Focus on sinks and their drains, faucets and their filters, counter tops, cutting boards, doors and their handles, drawer/cabinet handles, refrigerator door handles, galley appliances, stove overhead vent and drip
pans, garbage bins and switches. Sponges and dishcloths should be rotated out and washed daily.
Focus on control panels and consoles, helm, electronics, navigation equipment, displays (especially touchsensitive), control sticks, computer peripherals, telephones, radios, binoculars and other visualaugmentation systems, reusable PPE, office material, sign-in binders, tabletops, desks, chart tables, armrests, handles, doors, windows, garbage bins and switches.
6. Machinery Spaces
Focus on equipment casings (cooled down and not energized), tools, electrical tools (unplugged) handrails, ladders, frequently operated valve handles, doors, waste bins and door handles.
7. Engine Control Room
Focus on control panels and consoles, electronics, displays (especially touch sensitive), computer peripherals, telephones, radios, reusable PPE, office material, sign-in binders, tabletops, desks, armrests, handles, doors, remote controls, garbage bins and switches.
8. Open Deck Spaces and Equipment
Focus on handrails, ladders, on-deck equipment controls, lashing bridges, lashing equipment, frequently operated valves. Special attention should be paid to areas that may have been accessed by shore personnel
9.Re-usable Equipment and Tools
Re-usable crew equipment such as helmets, goggles, flashlights, binoculars and other visual augmentation systems, radios, gas detectors, body armor, etc. should be cleaned and disinfected.
Equipment used during drills should be cleaned and disinfected after use.
Tools used by the crew, including small electrical appliances, should be cleaned and disinfected.
Focus on washing machine consoles and doors, floors and horizontal working surfaces, garbage bins and switches.
Precautions should be taken not to shake laundry items such as linen and cloths, as this could re-aerosolize the virus. The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed when washing laundry items, using the
hottest appropriate water setting. Laundry should be dried thoroughly using the highest appropriate drier setting.
Hampers and other carts used to transport laundry should be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance for cleaning and disinfecting hard and soft surface.
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