In order to mitigate the threat of transmission of COVID-19 to the Lower Mississippi River maritime community, the Captain of the Port New Orleans recommends the following precautions be taken prior to and during vessel voyages. For vessels not requiring Pilots, the intent of the precautions remains the same and can still be applied.
- In the hour prior to Pilot boarding, wipe down the entire bridge with a 5% solution of bleach water. (Chart table, instruments, chairs, helm, entire console, windows, etc.)
- Any crew member entering the bridge should thoroughly wash their hands and face prior to entering the bridge, and their hands again immediately upon entering.
- Pilots may bring their own sanitizing materials, but these should also be provided by the ship and made available for all bridge team members to use frequently.
- Throughout the transit, Pilots onboard are encouraged to regularly wipe down any surface they come into contact with, such as pens/pencils, binoculars, radar control panels, ECDIS control panels, PPUs, VHF radios, etc.
- Close contact should be avoided at all times.
- If the Pilot is in a non-critical area of navigation and feels that they may need to cough or sneeze then they are encouraged to step to the bridge wing or exterior of the wheelhouse and do so in an open environment away from other individuals. If the area of navigation or layout of wheelhouse does not permit this action then the individual shall cover their mouth/nose and orient themselves in a direction away from other individuals. When safe to do so, they shall proceed with wiping down of the surfaces in their immediate vicinity.
- Any member of the bridge team should sanitize their hands immediately after touching their face, Pilot included. Pilots should make this awareness a part of Master-Pilot Exchange (MPX).
- Please only allow essential personnel in the wheelhouse.
- Eating while on the bridge should be avoided when possible.
These precautions are intended to promote social distancing and mitigate the threat of COVID-19 transmission.
For further information, contact the following:
Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (24 hours): (504) 365-2230, VHF-FM Ch. 05A, 12
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center (24 hours): (504) 365-2200
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Waterways Management: (504) 365-2280