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There is currently a pandemic of a novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which is affecting the UK among other countries. This situation has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization Emergency Committee, under the International Health Regulations.

A Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) is required for all vessels on arrival from a foreign port.

However, in response to this situation regarding COVID-19, Health Protection Scotland and the Scottish Ports Liaison Network require  that information be submitted to the Scottish Port Health Authority of the ports in the table below in the following cases irrespective of the vessel or whether it is arriving from a foreign port or another UK port:

  • Any vessel that has visited another port in the past 14 days
  • Any vessel that has had a crew change in the past 14 days
  • Any vessel that has had a suspect/confirmed case in the past 14 days

The information we require is the same as that required in the current MDH and should therefore allow the Port Authority to establish

  • Any persons unwell during the voyage and/ or on arrival, and any sanitary measures taken in response to that illness
  • Origin of the ship, when it left the origin port, and all ports where the vessel has docked during the 14 days prior to arrival.
  • Any crew changes

We ask that the master of the vessel submit the information electronically using the current MDH form, where possible, for convenience.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough or chest tightness, muscle pain, fatigue and breathing difficulty.

The Master of the ship should consider any of these as grounds for suspecting the existence of a disease of an infectious nature in addition to those listed on the current MDH.

Where a port operator or ship’s agent receives notice that there are ill persons on a vessel then:

If the suspected case is a medical emergency, you must call 999 for medical assistance and you must inform attending services that the case has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.  DO NOT disembark the patient or arrange alternative transport to a hospital until advised to do so. DO NOT disembark any other crew or passengers. Also ask the Harbour Master to inform the NHS Public Health (local Health Protection Team) and the Port Health Authority (the local authorities).

If the suspected case is not seriously unwell, you must notify the relevant NHS Health Protection Team (See Table 1).   Contact details for the case must be provided with sufficient information to allow the Health Protection Team to determine follow up action.  This will include symptoms, duration, contacts and travel history. DO NOT disembark the suspected case.

In addition to MDH submission to the PHA as above, prior to arrival in the port of call the Vessel owner, Master or Agent must confirm to the relevant harbour office that such submission has been made and declare any health concerns at the first opportunity. Failure to do so may result in a delay of permission to berth.

Please note, CMAL harbours are predominantly lifeline ferry ports for island communities and are operated by CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) on behalf of the competent authority. Each port can be contacted via VHF 12 or by the email address used for submission of CERS information.

Further information can be found on the Scottish Government, Health Protection Scotland and World Health Organization websites.

This NTM will remain in force until further notification is issued

Table 1 – Scottish Port Health Authority (PHA) Contacts for CFL Operated Harbours where relevant vessels are accepted:

Port Location Local / Port Health Authority PHA Telephone No. (24hr) PHA Email
Armadale, Highland Council 01349 868 489

Brodick North Ayrshire Council 01294 310 000
Castlebay Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 01851 701 702
Coll Argyll & Bute Council 01436 658 988
Colonsay Argyll & Bute Council 01436 658 988
Largs North Ayrshire Council 01294 310 000
Lochboisdale Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 01851 701 702
Port Ellen Argyll & Bute Council 01436 658 988
Tarbert (Harris) Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 01851 701 702
Tiree Argyll & Bute Council 01436 658 988
Tobermory Argyll & Bute Council 01436 658 988

Further Information:

Health Protection Scotland Maritime section

World Health Organization

Public Health England  (while not formally adopted, this document is also useful for Scotland) 

Issued on behalf of the Harbour Master

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited

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