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Articles & Insights Mar 24 2020

We hope you, your crew, and families are safe.

As COVID-19 situation worsens, more and more countries are restricting vessel entries. Do you and your crew know what to do to maintain safe operations onboard your vessels and minimize delays? Are your emergency management and business continuity plans working?

Here are some best practices we’re seeing onboard ships:
  1. Preparation. Ensure your crew and passengers are aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and cover any concerns for health services for vulnerable groups. Ensure adequate medical supplies, equipment and PPE are available onboard. See the WHO’s Disease Commodity Package for more information
  2. During the Voyage. All crew and passengers should be reminded of the need to report a new, continuous cough or a high temperature as soon as possible. If illness is suspected, notify the necessary authorities as soon as possible, in accordance with local regulations. (See MSIB 02-20 for more information on reporting in the US)
  3. Limiting the Spread. The spread of COVID-19 can be limited by reminding crew and passengers of public health advisories and posting relevant materials onboard the ship. Limiting exposure to the infected crew, utilizing masks, and following current guidelines for sanitation can help limit further infections.
  4. Upon Arrival. Ensure any illness is reported to the local authorities and your flag administrations prior to arrival in port. Restrict access to essential personnel only for all shipboard operations (e.g., cargo operations and bunkering), and implement screening measures for visitors prior to embarkation and disembarkation.
We're here for you

We have moved to telework and virtual work arrangements to do our part to help stop the spread. However, our 24/7 Command Center is fully manned and running smoothly. Our Vessel Services team remains fully operational to provide ongoing Vessel Response Plan support and compliance assistance for your vessels calling the US. Please continue to call our Command Center at +1 281 606 4818 for all incident notifications, exercises, or for general support for your fleet.

Here’s a few ways we can help:

Need someone to talk to?
Call us. Our team can help advise you on local arrival restrictions in the US and elsewhere, as well as the current information from WHO and CDC to help keep your team safe.

Is my plan working?
Set up a consultation to review your crisis management or business continuity plan to identify strengths and areas for improvement. We'll provide you with an executive-level summary of our findings to disseminate across your team.

What if I don’t have a plan?
We can get you started with a customized “play book” that provides foundational guidance around reporting, managing, and resolving a pandemic event. The output is a digestible and usable field guide that can be quickly shared across your organization.

How do I communicate to our most important audiences?
What you say is as important as the actions you take during a business-threatening crisis. Our crisis communications team based in London, Singapore and the US can help you develop and deliver critical messages to your internal and external audiences, and help you manage any media interest in your ships or your operations.

Where can I get more information?
Our vessel services team will continue to distribute circulars with detailed information on current advisories from the US Coast Guard and other regulatory agencies. If you are not receiving these circulars, or have further questions, please contact us at inquiry@wittobriens.com.

Here's where the situation stands as of October 07, 2020 (check back daily for updates):

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen and compound daily. We continue to actively monitor the global situation. To date, there have been over 35.9M confirmed cases of Coronavirus with 1,051,138 total deaths worldwide.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Statistics Dashboard

Statistics dashboard courtesy of Johns Hopkins. For live tracker click HERE.

Here’s a few helpful resources to stay up-to-date:

Our advisors have deep expertise with ensuring your vessels are equipped to handle any crisis. Contact us at contact@wittobriens.com to speak with one of our advisors highlighted below or another vessel services expert.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher

With over 30 years of experience, Mike leads our Shipping & Transportation market where he provides compliance, preparedness and response services to over 800 clients in the oil & gas, shipping, rail, and port industries. His spill/incident response management work predates OPA-90 and includes the 1989 M/T Exxon Valdez among other significant incidents. He also has significant preparedness/response experience in the public health sector, and spearheaded our response efforts on behalf of our client USDA to the 2015 avian influenza outbreak.m

Sean Rock
Sean Rock

With more than 15 years of experience in the maritime industry, Sean leads our vessel services team in our Houston operations center. As a recognized subject expert, Sean is able to assist industry clients in understanding the full range of threats and how to design and implement plans and procedures for responding to emergency situations. Sean, who is a fluent Spanish speaker, also has a background serving with the US Coast Guard for 8 years prior to joining Witt O'Brien's.

Tom Millet
Tom Millet

As Planning Director for Vessel Services, Tom leads our compliance operations team from our Houston center of excellence. He has over 10 years of regulatory plan management experience specializing in the maritime industry. Tom also leads emergency management exercises and training for many of our international and domestic shipping clients and works to continuously improve the planning capabilities and resiliency of our clients.

Kate Kelley
Kate Kelley

Kate leads the vessel compliance services and like many of our most experienced consultants, brings deep industry knowledge to support clients in complying with regulatory requirements and assisting with planning to reduce risk in their businesses. Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Kate was a program lead for the Environmental Protection Agency, developing and implementing environmental regulations in industry. Her technical support is invaluable for vessel owners and operators who must comply with the Vessel General Permit, ballast water management, OPA-90 and other U.S. Coast Guard regulations.ka