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 13 Mar 2020

The Namibian Ports Authority issued a memo on 28 January 2020 to all Ship Captains, Ship agents, Shore skippers and Skippers detailing the process to be followed before, as well as when a vessel arrives in port. This screening and clearing process will be carried out by Port Health. Port Health resides under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), and is not part of the Namibian Ports Authority.

Before a vessel arrives on Namibian shores the vessel agent is required to provide all background documentation to MoHSS about the last port of call, the number of passengers and the general conditions on board. Once the Port Health is satisfied with all the required documentation, a “free pratique” issued which certifies the vessel is clear of any contagious diseases. Upon receipt of the “free pratique”, the Port Captain will allow the vessel to enter the Port and dock alongside the quay at Namport.

Strict screening measures are adhered to ensure the health and safety of passengers, crew on-board before disembarking the vessel and initial screenings occur upon boarding the vessel to start their journey.

Any passenger suspected to be infected with the virus will be isolated on board, and if need be, evacuated as per Port Health (mandated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services) procedures. The vessel will in this case also be quarantined. If any crew member present a high temperature of more than 38 degrees and possible history of exposure, he/ she will be isolated in the hospital room on board of the ship. The secondary surveillance form will be completed for further details and this person will be attended to by the state doctor/nurse. This person will be treated as a suspect case and will be placed under quarantine at the state quarantine facility where samples will be collected and send for analysis. This suspect case will only be released once the results are negative. Hence, the entire ship will be under quarantine for such period.


Notification of sickness on the ship

Any ship that calls to dock at both Ports and reports in advance that there is a sick crew member on board will be treated as COVID-19 suspect and the following will apply:

  1. Ship will be placed under quarantine outside port limits, yellow flag will be hoisted
  2. Captain/ ships doctor will via (e-mail) submit a full report of the sick person containing the following information:                   
  • Name of crew member
  • Date and time of onset
  • Signs and symptom’s
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Treatment history
  • Sick person to be isolated from other crew in ships hospital
  1. Port health officer will report the case to the emergency disaster
    management team for preparedness and response.               
  1. A doctor or nurse will go to the ship for assessment of sick crew member.
  2. Doctor to arrange with disaster team to place sick person in quarantine facility at hospital.
  3. If more cases develop the entire crew will be quarantined on-board ship.
  4. The ship will remain under surveillance until declared free from disease.

It is important to highlight that the health clearance of all vessels entering our ports is the sole responsibility of the MoHSS, through the Port Health department. Namport is however ready to assist the MoHSS wherever possible.

Public/ Employee health advice:

    • Frequently clean your hands by using alcohol-based hand rub, or soap and water.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a medical mask, tissue, or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands afterwards and discard the mask or tissue.
    • Avoid unprotected close contact with people with fever and cough, and seek medical care if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
    • When visiting live animal markets, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
    • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical attention and share previous travel history with your health care provider.

As an entity, Namport is closely working with the health authorities and we will not put our staff members and clients at any risk as their safety remains our top priority at all times.

SOURCE: Namport