POEA issues guidelines on Ebola prevention for seafarers and manning agencies

Date Posted: August 11th, 2014 01:00 AM


POEA issues guidelines on Ebola prevention for seafarers and manning agencies Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac yesterday said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has issued guidelines for seafarers and manning agencies in taking precaution against infection of the Ebola Virus Disease (EBD). In a report to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Administrator Cacdac said the guidelines, issued in the form of an advisory, is pursuant to POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 14, Series of 2014, dated 4 July 2014 imposing a deployment ban on newly-hired workers for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the spread of the EVD. Baldoz commended the POEA's move and said every precaution should be exercised to ensure that spread of EVD is prevented. "The guidelines are issued for our seafarers' welfare and protection. They could be vulnerable to the EVD due to the unavoidable circumstance where they have to interact with shore-based personnel who come on board ships to perform their respective duties," she said. Under the POEA guidelines, all shipping principals, or employers, with ships operating or calling on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone ports, shall ensure that seafarers are properly provided with working gears, including personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, and goggles where necessary, to limit the possibility of exposure or contamination with the EVD. "There will be no shore leave for seafarers and no crew change in the ports of these countries in the meantime," said Cacdac. The guidelines provide that it shall be the responsibility of the ship master and/or the designated ship medical officer to report any case involving a crew who become symptomatic of EVD. "They shall report those who have fever, headache, intense weakness, joint and muscle pains, and sore throat to their principal/employer who, in turn, are required to coordinate with appropriate international marine medical providers to seek their guidance on ways to manage an EVD contamination on board. In the advisory, the POEA had requested principals/employers and manning agencies to consider and disseminate, as a matter of urgency, the following recommendations from the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) to their ships and hired seafarers prior to deployment: • The Master must ensure that the crew are aware of the risks, how the virus can be spread and how to mitigate the risk; • The ISPS Code requirements on ensuring that unauthorized personnel are not allowed to board the ship should be strictly enforced throughout the duration of the ship’s stay in port; and • After departure, the crew should be aware of the symptoms and report any occurring symptoms immediately to the persons/authorities in charge of medical are onboard. The POEA also requires principals/employers and manning agencies to report any incident of EVD contamination on any of their ships. "The report, containing complete details of the crew affected and the actions taken by the company, shall be submitted through e-mail to the Office of the POEA Administrator, who in turn shall provide copies of the report to the Departments of Health and Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration," Cacdac explained. Baldoz directed the POEA and all concerned to help in disseminating the POEA guidelines and the following advisories on EVD to eliminate apprehension among seafarers regarding possible EVD contamination: • Department of Health (DOH) Ebola Advisory (Tagalog Version) http://www.healthpromo.doh.gov.ph/ebola-advisory-tagalog/ • World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola Virus Disease Fact Sheet No. 103 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/ END

Created Aug 26th 2014, 15:04


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