IMO urges ports, governments to prevent spread of SARS
The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency in charge of vessel safety, has issued a circular to member governments asking them to take measures to stop the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome by ships, their seafarers and passengers.
The circular is based on information received by the government of Singapore.
The agency said countries should be ready to handle incidents of SARS on ships in their ports or arriving in their ports, and stressed particular problems for passenger ships. Cruise ships, ferries and passenger liners in particular carry large numbers of passengers and crew on each ship, the IMO said.
The IMO praised the government of Singapore and the country’s maritime and port authority for having adopted a SARS strategy to “isolate, ring-fence and contain the infection.” The port of Singapore accommodates about 400 vessel calls each day.
The IMO noted the isolation of treatment of some crew “would mean the need to have replacement crew in order that the ship could resume trading.”