Bridge Programs

Important information for vessels traveling from regions affected by recent Coronavirus outbreak

The Coast Guard Office of Emergency Management and Disaster Response issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin 01-20, “Novel Coronavirus Precautions,” Jan. 24, 2020.

A novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is causing an outbreak of pneumonia-type illness in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to expand in scope and magnitude. Global surveillance is in the early stages and confirmation of more cases in China and beyond its borders is expected. There have been cases discovered across the globe, including 2 cases in the United States. These cases have been directly associated with travelers who had visited the affected region in China.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people, usually causing only mild respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold. However, this novel coronavirus appears capable of causing illness that is more serious. Signs and symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. It is unclear how easily this virus spreads between people.

Some key points to remember concerning the Novel Coronavirus:

  • Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it is unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.
  • Preliminary information suggests that older adults, and people with underlying health conditions, may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus.
  • Travelers to Wuhan, China should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets.
  • Travelers from Wuhan to the United States and other countries, may be asked questions about their health and travel history upon arrival.
  • If you traveled to Wuhan and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead, tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms, and avoid contact with others. Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders should be aware of the following:

  • Vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased crew/passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC under 42 CFR 71.21. Regional CDC quarantine station points of contact can be found on CDC’s website.
  • The Coast Guard will continue to review all “Notice of Arrivals” in accordance with current policies and will communicate any concerns stemming from sick or deceased crew or passengers to their Coast Guard chain of command and the CDC quarantine station who will coordinate with local health authorities.
  • Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crewmembers on board their vessel prior to the Coast Guard embarking and boarding teams should verify vessel illnesses with CDC if concerns arise.
  • Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with section 5310 Procedures for Vessel Quarantine and Isolation, and Section 5320 – Procedures for Security Segregation of Vessels in their Area Maritime Security Plan.
  • Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard Captain of the Port, should review and be familiar with their Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan.
  • For situational updates, please check with the CDC online.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.