07/02/2020

Corona virus and implications for shipping

The virus originated from a meat market in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei Province in China. Currently nearly 30 000 persons are been affected globally by the virus and almost 600 persons are reported to have died from the virus. All except from one death have occurred in China. Both these figures are expected to rise. For updated figures see here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/ 

The global economic implications of the spread of the virus is already felt by the shipping industry. Many factories, offices and shops in China remain closed due to the spread of the virus. This will impact import and export out of the country. The Chinese central bank has pumped 22 billion dollars into the economy to ensure liquidity, but the larger consequences are already felt globally.  

Practical consequences of Coronavirus on shipping: 

  • All Chinese ports are reportedly open except for Wuhan port, which is an inland port.  
  • There are reports in delays at ports in China. Ships calling to a Chinese port may be delayed. 
  • A large number of ports around the world have introduced fever screening of crew arriving from a Chinese port. 
  • If infection is suspected on board the ship, alert port authority prior to the port call so proper measures can be put in place.  
  • Cruise ships have been quarantined but there are no reports of other types of vessels having been put in quarantine due to the virus.  
  • Several airlines have halted their flights to mainland China making it difficult to follow up on contracts in mainland China. 

Advice for crew on vessels making port calls in affected areas: 

  • Take care to reduce the possibility of the spread of any virus by washing hands and use of masks 
  • Minimize interpersonal exchanges at port and disembarking the vessel only when necessary.  
  • Alerting the authorities if a coronavirus infection is suspected on board 
  • Crew change in affected areas should be carefully assessed  

WHO has made information placards and guidance for self-protection which may be useful to have on board:  
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public 

Wilhelmsen Ships Service port overview:  
https://wilhelmsen.com/ships-agency/campaigns/coronavirus/coronavirus-map/