We recently received an e-mail from Lester Millet at the Port of South Louisiana (with facts compiled by Capt. Ron Branch) that presented a thoughtful summary of the facts around Ebola and the possible risks to mariners. We thought this was important enough to share with our PortVision community.
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued MARAD Advisory 2014-02 covering the Ebola Virus. Highlights include the following:
- The likelihood of contracting Ebola is very low unless there has been direct contact with the blood or body fluids from a symptomatic person or an animal infected with Ebola, or with a contaminated object.
- Simply traveling to an area where Ebola is present does not mean a person will be exposed to the virus.
- Given the unprecedented numbers of cases associated with this outbreak, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 Warning to avoid non-essential travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and a Level 2 Alert to practice enhanced precautions if traveling to Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Precautions include practicing careful hygiene, avoiding contact with blood and body fluids of persons sick with Ebola or with items that may have been in contact with such fluids, avoiding contact with wild animals and avoiding raw or undercooked meat.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that travelers to affected areas avoid all contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, and advises that persons who have had such contact, or who have an illness consistent with ebola, should not be allowed to travel except as part of an appropriate medical evacuation. who does not otherwise recommend any ban on international travel or trade.
- The CDC maintains up-to-date web resources which provide information on the current status of the outbreak, preventative steps that can be taken to remain healthy before and during travel, as well as actions that should be taken if a traveler becomes ill at any point.
- These web resources, along with CDC travel notices, can be found at the following websites:
- http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices, and
- Furthermore, US Merchant Mariners with access to unclassified https://www.intelink.gov can also access health protection advisories from the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) for more specific country related information at https://www.intelink.gov/ncmi/.
Capt Branch from the Louisiana Maritime Association also shared the following US Coast Guard information:
The USCG has issued the attached notice regarding the Ebola Virus. Infections have now been confirmed in Nigeria, in addition to the outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. There are no additional reporting requirements or precautionary restrictions going into effect at this time, but the attached MSIB 12-14 was released to make vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders aware of the following:
- Vessel representatives are always required to report to the CDC if there are any sick or deceased crew members within 15 days prior to entering a U.S. Port. The CDC office with jurisdiction over all ports in Louisiana is the CDC Houston Quarantine Station, and the 24-hour phone number to that office is (281) 230-3874.
- The USCG will be reviewing all Notice of Arrivals to determine if a vessel has recently traveled to a port of call in a country with a known outbreak of Ebola.
- Vessel masters need to inform USCG boarding teams if there are any ill crew members on their vessel.
Oceaneering International (our parent company at PortVision) has also done work to map global Ebola outbreaks for our ESRI GIS customers. If you are an ESRI user with interest in this layer, please contact us.