Recently there have been several incidents of reported COVID cases on board vessels.
I’ve been asked “What happens then…..?”
Below for your information is:
  1. Guidance provided by CDC Houston (which covers Louisiana Ports).
  2. USCG Sector NOLA response to agent soliciting information and intentions.
  3. USCG Sector NOLA response to LAMA questions.
This information is provided for your reference should you find yourself involved in a similar case.

Also here is a letter from CDC detailing the options.

1.  ========================================= CDC ========================================= 

From: “Liebhard, Brittany Marie (CDC/DDID/NCEZID/DGMQ)” <>
Date: June 4, 2021 at 10:19:05 AM CDT
Thanks so much for the notifications and for the update. I believe at this point you are aware of CDC’s 3 recommended management/quarantine options for vessels with COVID+ crew onboard.
As a reminder, I am sharing the recommendation letter that my colleagues at CDC Miami provided to the local agent there on June 1st.
Please provide responses to the following questions (note that some of these may overlap with the questions that LCDR Hart has posed).
  1. Management/quarantine option (per attached recommendation letter) that the ship and crew plan to use (i.e., Option 1, 2, or 3) 
  2. Confirm that all remaining persons onboard are 
    1. receiving twice daily temperature checks, and  
    2. being assessed or are self-checking for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 
  3. Confirm that that the ship will be cleaned and disinfected, as per CDC Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019. ( 
  4. Confirm that all sick/COVID+ crew members have been and will remain isolated to their cabins (they should have their own restroom and have the door shut) 
    1. Provide the dates that each sick/COVID+ crew member was isolated to their cabin.  
CDC considers all persons onboard to be contacts because of the close living and working conditions. 
Contacts (i.e. crew that are COVID-negative and asymptomatic) should not travel for 14 days after their last exposure to the COVID+ crew. ( 
CDC considers all persons onboard to be contacts because of the close living and working conditions.
Additionally, in anticipation of some of the questions we receive often, here are CDC recommendations for isolation, re-testing, and repatriation of COVID+ crew. 
  • For COVID+ crew who develop symptoms: isolation and precautions can be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset and after resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms.
  • For COVID+ crew who never develop symptoms: isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive test result for SARS-CoV-2.
  • For more information, please see:
Repatriation (if desired)
  • For COVID+ crew:  use of commercial transportation by crew members who have recovered from COVID-19 and met criteria for release from isolation according to CDC guidance within the previous 3 months may occur as follows:
    • Medical personnel can provide the crew member with a medical certificate stating that the crew member has recovered from COVID-19 and met CDC’s criteria for discontinuing isolation.
    • The medical certificate must meet the requirements of Department of Transportation regulations (14 Code of Federal Regulations § 382.23(c)(2)).
Brittany Liebhard
Quarantine Public Health Officer
Houston Quarantine Station
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office: 281.230.3874 (24/7) | eFax: 404.420.2290
2.  ========================================= USCG ========================================= 
From: Hart, Joseph H LCDR <> 
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2021 10:54 PM

Thanks for the information.
We look forward to the temperatures, and more importantly if they are displaying symptoms.
Also, what is the company’s plan now that their vessel seems to be down with COVID?
You may get additional questions or guidance from the group, but the initial expectations based on this new information, will be to submit the company’s way forward / mitigation strategy to this group.
Plan should cover, but not limited too:
  • Future reporting and communications with local health department to discuss appropriate way forward for entry to the river
  • Future testing posture of positive patients and other crew
  • Will any isolation take place aboard the vessel, if so how will the ship’s daily operations be managed. 
Again, there may be more questions. 
Chief of Inspections, NOLA
3.  ========================================= USCG =========================================
From: “Hart, Joseph H LCDR” <>
Subject: RE: COVID Protocol Question
  • Question: After reporting a possible COVID case, and then testing, what happens if there is a positive?  
USCG Answer: Sector would then initiate our COVID preliminary notification email to all interested parties, and open the lines of communication with our partners in order to ask any pertinent questions, in order to provide services to the vessel, or ensure movement can be arranged (as applicable) – I am sure you are familiar with these emails.  The main players will be the Pilots/Agents/CBP/CDC/Local Health; deciding whether the vessel is safe to be moved, continue working or what to do with the folks onboard; and how to coordinate all of that within boundaries of everyone’s COVID protocols – safety being a priority.  So, to put it simply; once reporting is made and vessel begins its owner/operators protocols, just follow instructions provided in the email string.  We treat every the case the same, and have done this many times and we think this is tried/true method that has worked with little to no issues so far.
  • Question: What would be the procedure then for coming in and getting treatment for the infected?  
USCG Answer: Treatment for the infected would have to be coordinated through the local health department and CBP (shore access).
  • Question: Does the ship remain outside or quarantined inside?
USCG Answer: We would prefer to be notified prior to the vessel coming, but we all know COVID does not read from that handbook; so we will deal with it on a case-by-case basis, and remain nimble as long as all parties are transparent and agree on the way forward.  We would prefer the vessel remain anchored and not operate until officially cleared and all infected parties produce a negative test / fulfilled their quarantine time. OR, a crew-change takes place, especially if those infected are critical manning.