The Coast Guard Director of Emergency Management published an update March 9, 2020 to Marine Safety Information Bulletin 02-20, “Novel Coronavirus.”
An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may affect mariners and maritime commerce. The CDC has updated their Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Cruise Ship Travel to Asia.
Illness of a person onboard a vessel that may adversely affect the safety of a vessel or port facility is a hazardous condition per 33 CFR 160.216 and must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP).
Cases of persons who exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must be reported to the COTP. Per 42 CFR 71.21, vessels destined for a U.S. port are required to report to the CDC any sick or deceased crew/passengers during 15 days prior to arrival at the U.S. port. Guidance to vessels to report deaths and illnesses to the CDC can be found at: https://go.usa.gov/xdjmj. U.S. flagged commercial vessels are also advised to report ill crewmembers in accordance with the requirements of each foreign port called upon.
Vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders should be aware of the following:
- Passenger vessels or any vessel carrying passengers that have been to Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) or embarked passengers who have been in Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States. If all passengers exceed 14 days since being in Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) and are symptom free, the vessel will be permitted to enter the United States to conduct normal operations. These temporary measures are in place to safeguard the American public.
- Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) or embarked crewmembers who have been in Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days, with no sick crewmembers, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and conduct normal operations, with restrictions. Crewmembers on these vessels will be required under COTP authority to remain aboard the vessel except to conduct specific activities directly related to vessel cargo or provisioning operations.
- The Coast Guard considers it a hazardous condition under 33 CFR 160.216 if a crewmember who was in Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the past 14-days is brought onboard the vessel during transit. This requires immediate notification to the nearest Coast Guard COTP.
- 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 cognizant CDC quarantine station, who will coordinate with local health authorities.
- Vessel masters shall inform Coast Guard boarding teams of any ill crewmembers on their vessel prior to embarking the team. This release has been issued for public information and notification purposes only.
- Local industry stakeholders, in partnership with their Coast Guard COTP, 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 COTP, should review and be familiar with their Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan.
- Maritime facility operators are reminded that they are not permitted to impede the embarkation/ disembark of crew members as permitted under Seafarer’s Access regulations. This authority resides with CBP, Coast Guard, or the CDC for medical matters. Facility operators should contact their local CBP, Coast Guard, or CDC/health department offices regarding specifics questions or concerns about their individual operations.
- The Coast Guard recommends that people review the CDC travel guidance and the U.S. Department of State (DoS) Travel Advisories related to COVID-19.
Questions about this bulletin should be directed to OutbreakQuestions@uscg.mil
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.