South African Port Authority Advice

This Marine Notice serves to inform industry of the procedure to be followed when considering the evacuation of crew members off vessels due to medical reasons irrespective of severity or nature of medical condition. To ensure that we remain consistent and abide by the various Government health directives and advisories and also World Health Organisation warnings with regard to Communicable Disease it is prudent that we implement the following measures in order to safeguard South Africa and its citizens.

With the increase in World Health Organisation warnings’ relating to infectious diseases like EBOLA it has become necessary to tighten up on the access granted to persons who display signs of possible infection not just via vessel to shore interaction but also when the sick or injured crew are brought ashore.

This marine notice serves to inform all on the correct reporting channels and make everyone aware of who has the authority to allow the medical emergency evacuation (Medevac) of crew members from vessels to take place.

As soon as it becomes known that there is / are persons on board vessels with illness/sickness/injury or death and/or requiring medical evacuation for whatever reason into South Africa the following procedure is to be strictly adhered to:

  • The Master must obtain radio medical advice (may be by email/text) from Telkom Radio and complete the appropriate TMAS (Telemedical Advice at Sea) documents
  • The doctor evaluating the case will consider case definitions for infectious diseases when providing advice
  • The doctor must advise the MRCC of his/her advice and any Medevac Decision
  • The Master of the Vessel must contact and inform the nearest Port Authority (TNPA Port Control office) of the Medevac Decision.
  • Masters are to ensure that local agents if not appointed, are appointed and given all necessary details pertaining to the request including information relevant to infectious diseases above.
  • Masters of vessels requiring assistance/Medevac must report all illness/sickness and deaths of crew / passengers on board within the last 21 days, to the Port Authority either directly or through a shipping agent
  • Agents appointed to co-ordinate Medevacs must contact the Port Authority to provide all necessary information relevant to infectious diseases and to establish whether permission is granted to land patients by Medevac.
  • Masters/Agents should immediately report illness/sickness/injury or death on board to the Port Authority to facilitate appropriate health response
  • A Medevac may only occur with the written permission of the Port Authority or the MRCC after consultations with Port Health has taken place.
  • Such permission will include instructions from the Port Authority and/or MRCC on the methodology/means applied during the Medevac- which includes the presence of a Port Health Official at any Medevac
  • Vessel agents are to ensure that the master provide the Port Authority with all the required clearance applications. Agents may obtain such directly from Port Authority Office within their regions.
  • Only persons and organisations trained in infectious disease control measures with the required capacity and equipment are permitted to conduct a Medevac when Communicable Disease Case definitions are met.
  • All the prescribed measures as per Port Authorities are to be met by the agents on behalf of the vessels and the Port Authorities are to ensure the necessary actions are taken should the vessel require quarantine.

To learn more, download the document below.


Staff Author