COVID-19 vessel precautions

06 Apr 2020 / Panama Canal, Panama

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), concerned with the threat of transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to ACP employees, respectfully requests vessel operators to take precautionary measures before and during the transit of their vessels through the Panama Canal and when making local port calls. These measures are necessary and imperative to prevent any further spread of this virus in the Republic of Panama.

Some of these measures must be implemented before ACP employees board these vessels, and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • One hour prior to the boarding of the ACP inspector and pilot, wipe down the boarding facilities, pilot cabin, elevator/stairway, as well as the entire bridge, to include the chart table, navigational equipment, chairs, helm, entire console, handrails, windows, door handles and toilets, with a 5% solution of bleach water or equivalent disinfecting solution.

  • Minimize the number of crewmembers standing by at the pilot boarding station.

  • Periodically disinfect any surfaces that the pilot or crewmembers have come into contact with, such as binoculars, radar control panels, ECDIS control panels and VHF radios.

  • Periodically wipe down toilets designated to be used by ACP linehandlers, as well as working area.

  • Allow only essential personnel inside the navigation bridge while an ACP pilot is on board.

  • Any crewmembers intending to enter the bridge must wash their hands and face prior to entering the bridge, and once inside the bridge, must immediately wash their hands again.

  • A supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be maintained on the bridge.
  • Close contact should be avoided at all times, maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 meters or more, whenever possible.

  • All coffee cups and utensils must be washed thoroughly immediately prior to being used by the ACP pilot.

These precautions are intended to promote social distancing and mitigate the threat of further transmission of the COVID-19 virus while a vessel is transiting the Panama Canal or is arriving at Canal waters for a local port call.

(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Panama, contact GAC Panama at [email protected])

Source: Panama Canal Authority Advisory To Shipping No.A-13-2020 dated 3 April 2020

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