Alarming reports indicate that in some cases seafarers are being denied medical attention by port authorities. Many cases of seafarers suffering non-COVID related medical conditions being refused entry to port or denied medical evacuation for over 4 days are being reported.
Reminding governments of their obligations to provide medical care for seafarers ICS will address a virtual meeting of healthcare professionals, organized by the World Health Organization, International Maritime Organization and International Labor Organization, where the latest guidance for seafarers will be discussed.
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping said:
"This guidance should give confidence to national governments that crew changes can and must be carried out. Especially when there are critically ill crew members on board.
“We’re receiving alarming reports of seafarers who are suffering from serious medical injury such as a stroke, be denied medical evacuation for over 4 days. This is simply not acceptable."
The 48-page document builds on the previous guidance issued in March, providing comprehensive recommendations on:
- Safe port entry
- Shipboard measures to address risks associated with COVID-19
- Managing an outbreak of COVID-19 on board ships
- Managing other medical issues during COVID-19, including medical assistance to seafarers in ports
The new guidance should serve as a reassurance to governments and port authorities that it is fully possible to conduct crew changes in a safe and effective manner. Urgent action is now required to ensure that no other seafarers are subjected to prolonged period without medical assistance if they need it.