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989 - 08/14 – Ebola Update
Since issuing Bulletin 985 on the practical advice concerning the current outbreak of the Ebola Virus in West Africa and Bulletin 988 on the contractual issues which may arise, there have been a number of developments that concern the shipping community.
The below information is correct at time of publication and is subject to change as the situation develops.
The Club’s Local Correspondents report that presently all ports in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia remain open and are operating normally. In Nigeria, however, it is reported that the Nigerian Port Health Authority have issued instructions to ban any ships entering any Nigerian port which have previously called at Guinea, Gabon, Sierra Leone and Liberia. If not arriving from an Ebola affected area, the ship should be able to enter the port as normal.
The Abidjan Port Authority has also reportedly issued notice (265/DGPAA/DOMS/DS/SS/TFC) advising that with effect from 12th August, all vessels arriving from a country affected by the Ebola virus are forbidden to enter the port. Any ill person on board must be reported to the authorities and vessels may be subject to a 21 day quarantine period if there are concerns.
As the Club is informed of any changes to the status of the ports in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria it will be reflected on the Club website.
Additionally on 4th August, three of the major global shipping organisations joined together to issue guidance to their members on the risks posed to ships’ crews calling in countries affected by the Ebola virus. The statement issued by the ICS (International Chamber of Shipping), IMEC (International Maritime Employers’ Council), and the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) can be read here.
The POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) have issued Memorandum Circular No. 7 dated 11th August which provides guidelines which must be implemented on all ships carrying Filipino seafarers travelling within any Ebola affected areas. These guidelines state that the crew should be correctly informed of the current outbreak and the risks associated with it. It also notes that employers shall provide their seafarers with masks, gloves and goggles for use in the affected areas to reduce the risk of infection. The memorandum also prevents any Filipino crew changes in the ports of any of the high risk countries and disallows any crew from taking shore leave in the ports. The Memorandum can be viewed in full here.
The POEA have also issued Governing Board Resolution No. 14 in which it states that all new contracts/deployments of Filipino overseas workers shall be temporarily banned from engaging in contracts which shall take them to Guinea, Liberia and/or Sierra Leone. Existing contracts are allowed to continue, however, any new contracts (including those returning after a period of leave) shall be affected by the temporary ban. The POEA have advised that they will not be in a position to monitor the seafarers deployments and it shall therefore be the responsibility of the manning agents to ensure this Resolution is being complied with and report any employers who do not comply. The full Resolution can be found here.
Source of information
Genevieve Holloway, UK Club, London Syndicate 3