In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the port of Rotterdam has tightened regulations for ships in the port area. These rules apply both to incoming and outgoing vessels.
Before ships are allowed to enter the port, they need to submit a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDOH) to the Harbour Coordination Center (HCC). Ships in non-essential categories – cruise liners and working vessels, for example – are subject to a stricter admission policy.
Coronavirus on board a vessel
If a crew member on board a vessel is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, the ship’s captain is required to inform the HCC by telephone. The HCC will then notify the Municipal Health Service (GGD), after which a doctor will contact the captain for further information. The doctor will only board the ship in very urgent cases.
Crew members suffering from mild COVID-19 complaints are required to stay on board and will be isolated from the rest of the crew. The captain is required to notify the Port Health Authority of this measure via the Maritime Declaration of Health and provide the HCC with daily status reports.
If the Municipal Health Service determines that a sick crew member can no longer remain in isolation on board the vessel, or if there are insufficient options to isolate the crew member, it may decide to transfer him or her to shore for care and isolation.
If the Municipal Health Service/physician determines that the patient’s condition is life-threatening, he or she will be admitted to a Dutch hospital.
Short-term shore leaves are strictly discouraged. Crew members are only permitted to go ashore for medical reasons.
The only people permitted to board vessels are medical professionals, personnel engaged in strictly necessary activities like provisioning and repairs, and government employees.
In consultation with a number of parties, including the terminals, ships’ agents, the inland shipping sector and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, it has been decided to execute these crew changes as far as possible via the landward side – provided this is done in a controlled fashion and in accordance with current regulations.
Cargo operations can go ahead as planned even when a crew member tests positive for the coronavirus. However, the other crew members are not allowed to come in contact with port personnel.
In principle, ships carrying a crew member who suffers from mild corona symptoms are allowed to leave the port. This is evaluated on a case by case basis. Pilotage requirements are taken into account in the decision whether or not to authorise the departure. If the ship’s departure requires a pilot to step on board the ship, it has been agreed that the pilots, the Municipal Health Service and the Port of Rotterdam Authority will confer about the details of this departure and its execution.
Update corona virus
Despite the far-reaching social impact of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the port of Rotterdam will remain operational. Cargo handling and production will continue unabated. The Harbour Master Division is monitoring safety and public order on the water 24/7. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is carefully complying with the recommendations of national authorities in the field of health and safety, and we have taken steps to safeguard the continuity of business operations.
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