Marine Industry Trusted Partners for COVID-19

The marine industry is rising to meet the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by banding together to create a mutually agreed standard of protocols to protect marine workers.

The Chamber of Marine Commerce has developed the Marine Industry Trusted Partners for COVID-19 initiative with its Canadian ship operator members to help assure ship owners, governments and other stakeholders (including the public) that a mutually-agreed standard of protection, with supporting protocols, is being followed by each Partner during ship-shore interactions.

The initiative is open to any company or organization to join that may be involved with ship-shore interactions in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, East Coast and Arctic – and has attracted the participation of ports, ship inspectors, tug operators,  Canadian pilotage authorities and marine service/supply firms.

“Everyone wants to get home safely and be confident their job does not put their families and loved ones at risk. While firms are taking steps to protect their employees, not all organizations are aware of each other’s measures. This initiative opens up the channels of communication and helps reassure participating partners and the public that we’re all on the same page when it comes to COVID-19 safety.”

Bruce Burrows, President and CEO, Chamber of Marine Commerce 

Ship-shore interactions required for safety

Ship-shore interactions are currently minimized and shore leave for crews is limited. CMC shipowner members have also collaborated and implemented an extensive set of Best Practices for protecting their own employees. 

But to maintain safe operations, ship owners still need to have workers come on and off their ships for critical tasks that cannot be done remotely. These personnel include inspectors, marine pilots, equipment and maintenance specialists.  Ship crews also need to safely interact with ports and terminals during loading and unloading, and crew changes.

To address this, the Trusted Partner Initiative aims to build confidence that marine employers are taking consistent and appropriate measures to protect people’s health while they are working onboard ships and when joining or leaving a ship. The initiative will help to facilitate essential ship-shore interactions, which are required for safe operations, by minimizing the need for additional screening between Trusted Partners. However, it does not prevent any organization from taking further measures to protect their employees where the need arises.

Under this initiative, trusted partners will exchange information on the safety measures they have instructed their employees to follow. Each Trusted Partner must state and provide documentation that their organization has implemented measures that meet the Trusted Partners criteria.  

 At a minimum, the following measures shall be observed:
  1. Employees are screened prior to joining their vessel or reporting to their workplace;
  2. Shore side employees are screened before travelling on business across provincial or national borders to job sites;
  3. If screening results indicate risks, the employee must contact local health services or see their doctor and follow instructions of health care professionals;
  4. If sick, any employee must stay home, and contact local health service or see their doctor and follow instructions of health care professionals; and
  5. If a crew member shows symptoms, the Captain will report it to local public health authorities and follow their medical advice. 
Workers must also:
  • Properly wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water regularly throughout the day; and when facilities are not readily available use hand sanitizers
  • Self-monitor for symptoms on a regular basis
  • Avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with their elbows
  • Maintain physical distance of 2 metres between others – Where this is not possible on board for some tasks, a safety assessment should be carried out that looks at all protective measures in place (i.e. hand- washing, cleaning surfaces)
As well, Trusted Partners employers will:
  • Provide employees guidance, training and access to up-to-date information
  • Frequently wipe down commonly touched surface areas
  • Provide hand-washing facilities and hand sanitizer where hand washing is not available