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ICS ISSUES UPDATED HEALTH GUIDANCE IN VIEW OF ALARMING REPORTS

Friday, May 29, 2020 

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has issued updated health guidance for the global shipping industry to ensure ship operators and crew can safely deal with seafarers struggling with medical conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to ICS, alarming reports indicate that some 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 four days are being reported. Reminding governments of their obligations to provide medical care for seafarers ICS addressed a virtual meeting of healthcare professionals, organised by the World Health Organization, IMO and ILO, where the latest guidance for seafarers was discussed.

Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, 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 updated 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. The full guidance will be delivered to IMO member states' national health ministries and global port authorities, ensuring they have the information they need.

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