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COVID-19: Updates on crew changes and public health

A. UK HSE on Senior Leadership for the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry for Major Accident Prevention

HSE has highlighted the US Chemical Safey and Hazard Investigation Board publication, "CSB Best Practice Guidance for Corporate Boards of Directors and Executives in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry for Major Accident Prevention", which can be accessed here.

HSE has also reminded stakeholders of the need to pay heed to the HSE 2013 guidance on "Leading Health and Safety at Work", which is available here. The guidance touches upon effective leadership of health and safety and has been designed for use by all directors, governors, trustees, and officers in the private and public sectors. The guidance notes that failure to include health and safety as a key business risk in board decision-making can have catastrophic results. Among other topics, the guidance document lists essential principles with respect to expectations for board leadership and related activities in the areas of health, safety, sustainability and environmental protection.

B. Crew change scheme - International Maritime Employers' Council (IMEC)

IMEC has been working the ATPI Group, a company which provides international corporate travel services, to try to amalgamate the international shipping industry's crew travel requirements to produce enough volume for airlines to bring idle aircrafts into operation.

This scheme is now live and the portal is available at 

Members are invited to consider if this would assist in their operations, and if so, the UK Chamber will be looking to disband its scheme to facilitate crew travel arrangements between UK Chamber offshore vessel members.

C. Reporting of crew change experiences - International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)

ICS is collecting information on the ability of ships to conduct crew changes.  This is to support efforts to encourage Governments to implement the ’IMO Protocols’ and facilitate crew changes throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic in as many ports as possible.

Vessel operators are requested to forward the link:

 to Masters with an encouragement to complete this ‘one minute’ ICS Crew Change Survey whenever a crew change is attempted.

ICS's intention is to issue the results every second week, in order to begin maintaining a ‘white list’ of those countries in which crew changes are being successfully undertaken, which will hopefully indicate progress in the immediate days and weeks ahead. 

D. Public Health England and Department for Transport - Maritime Public Health FAQs, 12 May 2020 - Version 4 published - see here

If there are any questions you would like to raise, please let the UK Chamber/BROA know and we can raise them at the fortnightly PHE-DfT meeting. The next meeting will take place on 19 May 2020.

E. Update on COVID-19 Symptoms and the need to self-isolate as of 18 May 2020 - see 

A statement from the four UK Chief Medical Officers on an update to Coronavirus symptoms:

“From today, all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia.

“Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.

“We have been closely monitoring the emerging data and evidence on COVID-19 and after thorough consideration, we are now confident enough to recommend this new measure.

“The individual’s household should also self-isolate for 14 days as per the current guidelines and the individual should stay at home for 7 days, or longer if they still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell or taste.”

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton

Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride

Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty


Changes for the symptomatic individual and their household:

- Individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough OR fever OR as of today, a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste (Anosmia).

- All members of their household must also self-isolate according to current guidelines, unless the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.

F. Pilot on Contact Tracing in Scotland - 17 May 2020 

Three NHS health boards to pilot software.

NHS Scotland Contact tracing technology will be tested in NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland from Monday 18 May.

The pilot, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow the health boards to test out the software which contact tracers will use to collect the information that they need digitally. This builds on existing contact tracing technology in place across the NHS and will allow health boards to trace more contacts faster.

This is the first step in moving towards an extended test, trace, isolate and support (TTIS) approach which will be used to keep transmission in communities low as the country moves out of lockdown.

Over 600 additional staff from the NHS are ready to begin this work, as part of the process of recruiting up to 2000 staff.

The software will be rolled out to all health boards by the end of May and then further enhanced during June.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Technology will be an important tool to help us move towards the test, trace, isolate and support approach and safely exit lockdown.   

“The software we are developing in Scotland is built on a tried and trusted platform and will allow us to carry out contact tracing on a much larger scale than has been necessary until now. It will also focus on supporting public health teams identify outbreaks and reduce transmission in high risk groups and settings by making it easier for staff to collect and record information.

“The test, trace, isolate and support approach is about breaking the chain of transmission of the virus but it remains vital that alongside this people continue to follow physical distancing advice and practise good hand and cough hygiene.”


Covid-19 – Test, Trace, Isolate, Support is a public health intervention to identify cases of COVID-19, find the people they have been in close contact with, and then ask those close-contacts to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.

The Scottish Government is also working to develop support for those who will be required to isolate, building on the support currently in place for those currently shielding from the virus.

The digital system will be built up from the end of May onwards. Not everyone who tests positive will be traced in the first instance but this service will gradually be built up in conjunction with health boards.