Measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on passenger vessels and ferries - SSB No.: 08/2021 (modified 2021-11-01)

RDIMS No .: 17656933
Date (Y-M-D) : 2021-07-05

 
We issue Ship Safety Bulletins for the marine community. Visit our Website at www.tc.gc.ca/ssb-bsn to view existing bulletins and to sign up to receive e-mail notices of new ones.

This bulletin replaces Ship Safety Bulletin No. 12/2020

Purpose

This bulletin outlines measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on board essential passenger vessels and ferries. These practices must be implemented by essential passenger vessels and ferries that continue to operate, under restrictions, during the pandemic.

Scope

This bulletin applies to Essential Passenger Vessels:

Background

Under restrictions set by Transport Canada to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Authorized Representatives of any Canadian vessel which operates with 12 or more crew members, or which is part of a fleet which contains at least one vessel which operates with 12 or more crew members, as well as the Authorized Representatives of any foreign or domestic non-essential passenger vessels on voyages of 24 hours or more, must verify that:

  • beginning on November 15, 2021, that every person (excluding passengers) on board the vessel has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine dosage regimen before boarding the vessel; and
  • beginning on January 24, 2022, that every person (excluding passengers) on board the vessel is fully vaccinated.

For passengers on non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages of 24 hours or more, Transport Canada will be issuing requirements on November 30, 2021 to support the resumption of the Canadian cruise season in 2022.

Essential Passenger Vessels and Ferries must make reasonable efforts to implement and put in place measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19 as set out in Transport Canada publication COVID-19: Guidance Material for Essential Passenger Vessel and Ferry Operators and consistent with guidance put forward by local health authorities in the vessel’s area of operation.

They must also:

  • immediately reduce by 50% the maximum number of passengers that may be carried on board (conduct half-load voyages); OR
  • if no reduction in passengers, implement alternative practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19, consistent with guidance put forward by local health authorities in the vessel’s area of operation, among passengers on board their vessels.

Measures to reduce transmission risk

For all Essential Passenger Vessels and Ferries who do not reduce passenger loads by 50%, the operator will need to implement appropriate mitigation measures, based on the most recent public health advice put forward in the vessel’s area of operation. These mitigation measures are then to be submitted to Transport Canada (via email to the CMAC Secretariat at cmac-ccmc@tc.gc.ca). Transport Canada should also be advised if the jurisdiction in which the Essential Passenger Vessel/Ferry operates has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions.

Measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19 should be based on recent advice put forward by local health authorities in the vessel’s area of operation. These measures could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • requesting that passengers stay in their vehicles on open car decks for the duration of the transit;
  • requiring that passengers use a face covering to cover their mouth/nose, for use at times during their journey when they cannot physically distance from others (e.g., in washrooms or other common areas);
  • encouraging passengers to wash their hands before boarding the vessel;
  • ensuring there are facilities to allow all passengers and crew to wash their hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds;
  • ensuring there is alcohol-based hand sanitizer (or equivalent) available to all passengers and crew;
  • requiring physical distancing for passengers on board in accordance with local health authority measures ;
  • putting in place immediate reporting and mandatory isolation of anyone showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, fever equal to or greater than 38°C, or signs of fever, e.g. shivering, flushed skin, excessive sweating). In the case of overnight vessels, at least 20% of their capacity must be carried as empty berths to allow for isolation;
  • operating buffets, restaurants and canteens in accordance with local health authority measures;
  • eliminating the practice of “hot bunking”, where more than one crew member is assigned to a single bunk;
  • working with terminal operators to provide additional space for walk-on passengers waiting to embark/disembark; and
  • increasing medical capacity where practical (e.g., for those vessels that regularly carry medical staff, this would mean increasing the number of medical staff on board).

Passenger announcements:

In addition to the requirements under the Ministerial Interim Order, Transport Canada is requesting that the crew of a passenger vessel or ferry vessel read out the announcement provided in Annex A before boarding, and the message provided in Annex B once passengers are on-board the vessel. Where this is not feasible, the operator should post equivalent signage. Details within the announcements which relate to the health check and wearing of a face covering may be amended to align with current guidance put forward by local health authorities in the vessel’s area of operation.

Annex A: Pre-boarding announcement to be adopted based on local measures

In order to manage the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada, along with the provinces and territories have put in place recommended practices.

Prior to boarding this vessel you may be requested to undergo a health check. This will involve answering a few simple questions to which you must answer truthfully.

During the voyage, you could be asked to wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose when you are outside your vehicle and in situations where you cannot maintain two metres of physical separation.

When arriving at your destination, you may be subject to further measures taken by the municipal, provincial or territorial government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As a reminder, no person should board a vessel when they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Should symptoms such as a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing develop while on-board, please notify the vessel crew immediately.

Annex B: On-board announcement to be adopted based on local measures

In light of the global pandemic related to COVID-19, the Government of Canada, in cooperation with provincial/territorial public health authorities, has put in place important measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

During this voyage, you could be asked to wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose when you are outside your vehicle and in situations where you cannot maintain two metres of physical separation.

Please be advised that many provinces and territories are asking travelers, with some exceptions for essential services, to self-isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Travelers are reminded to stay informed about COVID-19 measures that apply in the region where they are heading, and obtain updates from their national, provincial and territorial health authorities.

Keywords

1. Coronavirus
2. Passenger
3. Alternative practices

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:

AMSR

Transport Canada
Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

 

Contact us at: Email: marinesafety-securitemaritime@tc.gc.ca or Telephone: 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).