Contractors with Phoenix International Incorporated prepare to recover the Orion side-scan system aboard the Military Sealift Command fleet ocean tug USNS Apache (T-ATF 172) on Nov. 8, 2015, searching for wreckage from the missing U.S. flagged merchant vessel El Faro. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Paul Kotara II)

COVID-19: Coast Guard Reminds Mariners About Reporting Requirements for Illness or Death

Coast Guard Headquarters has released MSIB 06-20 reminding mariners about Reporting Requirements for Illness or Death. The full contents of that message are contained in this MSIB.

An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting mariners and maritime commerce. This MSIB serves as a reminder that the illness of persons on board a vessel must be reported to both the Coast Guard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Reporting delays create significant challenges to protect persons on board vessels and, more broadly, maintain an effective Marine Transportation System. Vessels or masters that do not immediately report illness or death among passengers or crew may face delays and disruption to passenger and cargo operations including a requirement to return to the previous port after sailing. Additionally, vessels and masters are subject to Coast Guard enforcement action, which include civil penalties, vessel detentions, and criminal liability.

Illness of a person onboard a vessel that may adversely affect the safety of a vessel or port is a hazardous condition per 33 CFR 160.216 and the owner, agent, master, operator, or person in charge must immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP). It is critical to report persons who exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or other illness to the COTP. Make local notifications about hazardous conditions to the Coast Guard by contacting the Sector Virginia Command Center on VHF-FM Channel 16 or by calling 757-483-8567. Routine, non-urgent inquiries may be made by contacting the Port Safety and Security Branch at 757-668-5525 or SectorVA.PSS@uscg.mil

42 CFR 71.1 defines an ill person onboard a vessels as one that has:

(A) Fever (has a measured temperature of 100.4 °F [38 °C] or greater; or feels warm to the touch; or
gives a history of feeling feverish) accompanied by one or more of the following:

  • skin rash,
  • difficulty breathing or suspected or confirmed pneumonia,
  • persistent cough or cough with bloody sputum,
  • decreased consciousness or confusion of recent onset,
  • new unexplained bruising or bleeding (without previous injury),
  • persistent vomiting (other than sea sickness)
  • headache with stiff neck;

(B) Fever that has persisted for more than 48 hours;

(C) Acute gastroenteritis, which means either:

  • diarrhea, defined as three or more episodes of loose stools in a 24-hour period or what is above normal for the individual, or
  • vomiting accompanied by one or more of the following: one or more episodes of loose stools in a 24-hour period, abdominal cramps, headache, muscle aches, or fever (temperature of 100.4 °F [38 °C] or greater);

This release has been issued for public information and notification purposes only.

Additionally, as required by 42 CFR 71.21, the master of a ship destined for a U.S. port shall report immediately to the quarantine station at or nearest the port at which the ship will arrive, the occurrence, on board, of any death or any ill person among passengers or crew (including those who have disembarked or have been removed) during the 15-day period preceding the date of expected arrival or during the period since departure from a U.S. port (whichever period of time is shorter). Guidance and forms to report deaths and illnesses to the CDC can be found at: https://go.usa.gov/xdjmj. The responsible CDC station for the Port of Virginia is the CDC Washington DC Station, which can be reached at 703-661-1320.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, contact United States Coast Guard Sector Virginia Port Safety and Security Branch at 757-668-5525 or SectorVA.PSS@uscg.mil.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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