Namport introduces COVID-19 surveillance procedures

A vessel docked at Walvis Bay port in Namibia. Credit: Namport

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has instituted a surveillance process of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for all vessels calling at its ports.

According to Immanuel Hanabeb, Namport’s commercial executive, any vessel calling at Namibia will have to provide background documentation to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) about the last port of call, the number of passengers, and general conditions on board.

If the vessel is deemed free of any contagious disease, a free pratique licence will be issued by the MoHSS. Upon receipt of the free pratique, the vessel will be allowed to dock alongside the quay at Namport.

However, there will be additional strict screening measures to ensure the health and safety of passengers as well as crew on board before disembarking the vessel.

Any passenger suspected to be infected with the virus will be isolated on board, and if need be, evacuated according to MoHSS-mandated port health procedures.

The vessel will in this case also be quarantined.

If any crew member presents a temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius and possible history of exposure, he/she will be isolated in the hospital room on board the ship.

Any ship that called at either Walvis Bay or Lüderitz Bay and reports in advance that there is a sick crew member on board will be treated as COVID-19 suspect.

The vessel will be placed under quarantine outside port limits, and a yellow flag – the universal maritime symbol for disease on ships – will be hoisted, said Hanabeb.