Seafarers Training Hampered, Says IMO in COVID19 Seafarers Guidance!


In a major development, the International Maritime Organization,IMO, has issued a fresh set of COVID19 pandemic advice for seafarers and the shipping industry at large, says a press release published on their website.

The recent press release takes into account the pandemic problem and guides IMO member states regarding seafarers safety.

Seafarers Training Hampered? 

The Secretary-General has been made aware of a number of concerns regarding
seafarers’ training and certification as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, reads the ciruclar dated 17the March.

The actions taken worldwide as a result of the outbreak pose a serious challenge for
Administrations to allow the continued training of seafarers, revalidate certificates, including medical certificates, and issuance of endorsements attesting recognition of certificates in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW Convention), 1978, as amended, says the circular.

Guidance for Seafarers’ Safety

It calls for the following points for Seafarers’ Safety.

  •  In light of the foregoing, issuing Administrations are encouraged to take a pragmatic
    and practical approach with regard to the extension of the above-mentioned certificates and endorsements, as strictly necessary, and to notify ships, seafarers and relevant
    Administrations accordingly.
  • Port State control authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic and practical
    the approach in relation to these certificate and endorsement extensions, and their acceptance in the exercise of control procedures in accordance with article X (Control) and regulation I/4 (Control procedures) of the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended.
  • Members States are invited to communicate to the Organization general information
    on the practices adopted by the issuing Administrations and port State control authorities. The Organization will circulate this information.
  •  Member States and other stakeholders are invited to bring the contents of this circular
    letter to the attention of all concerned, especially issuing Administrations and port State control authorities.

WHO Guidance

The World Health Organization (WHO) determined that the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic on 11 March  2020. With the information currently available on novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions on international traffic.

WHO technical guidance on the detection and management of ill travellers suspected of COVID-19 infection, including at ports, can be downloaded here.  

WHO Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships can be downloaded here

Advice for IMO Member States, seafarers and shipping

WHO/IMO joint statement on the response to the COVID-19 Outbreak 

The executive Heads of the World Health Organization (WHO) and IMO have issued a joint statement on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, available in the six official languages of the United Nations system.

Arabic Chinese ​English ​French Russian​ ​Spanish

IMO has issued the following circular letters:

  • Circular Letter No.4204/Add.5 (17 March 2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance relating to the certification of seafarers
  • Circular Letter No.4204/Add.4 (5 March 2020) contains ICS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for ship operators for the protection of the health of seafarers
  • Circular Letter No.4204/Add.3 (2 March 2020) – Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships.
  • Circular Letter No.4204/Add.2 (21 February 2020) contains the Joint Statement IMO-WHO on the Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak and encourages Member States and international organizations to disseminate it as widely as possible.
  • Circular Letter No.4204/Add.1  (19 February 2020) provides advice on Implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO instruments.
  • Circular Letter No.4203.Add.1 (12 February 2020) provides information and guidance, based on recommendations developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Division of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health (DHMOSH), United Nations, on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to delegates attending meetings at IMO.
  • Circular Letter No.4204 (31 January 2020) providing  information and guidance, based on recommendations developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to seafarers, passengers and others on board ships from the coronavirus. Member States are advised to urge all stakeholders (companies, managers, crewing agents, etc.) to promulgate information to ensure that seafarers, passengers and others on board ships are provided with accurate and relevant information on the coronavirus outbreak and on the measures to reduce the risk of exposure if they are likely to be engaged on ships trading to and from ports in coronavirus-affected States.

World Health Organization advice

​On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. The virus did not match any other known virus. This raised concern because when a virus is new, we do not know how it affects people. One week later, on 7 January, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus. The new virus is a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. This new virus has been named COVID-19.

WHO has been working with Chinese authorities and global experts, to learn more about the virus, how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can be treated, and what countries can do to respond.

Because this is a coronavirus, which usually causes respiratory illness, WHO has advice to people on how to protect themselves and those around them from getting the disease.

WHO provides Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advice here:

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Source: IMO


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