PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNG Ports) will be implementing stringent measures to curb possibilities of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCoV) entering the country through the sea ports.
PNG Ports, will be assisting NAQIA, Customs, shipping lines and Health Department officials, to monitor and restrict the movement of vessels, passengers and cargoes, as international vessels enter the declared port limits.
Managing Director of PNG Ports, Mr. Fego Kiniafa, through a directive issued last week, said the safety measures were crucial as the ports were a point of entry with majority of the vessels arriving from the Asia region.
The six-point directive to be applied at all ports immediately stated:
- All overseas vessels entering our ports (or any other port within the country) will be required to proceed to anchorage and will be cleared by port health officials there prior to pilot boarding. After the vessel is cleared by port health officials, pilots can board to bring the vessel alongside to berth.
- Where the vessel’s master requires pilot assistance to manoeuvre to anchorage, the pilot will proceed out with health quarantine officials to make the movement to anchorage.
- In both and all scenarios, pilot must be wearing minimum protective (PPE) equipment such as surgical mask, gloves and safety glasses.
- For port to port movements (e.g. 1stport POM, 2nd port Alotau etc.), although cleared by health quarantine in the first port, the vessel will still need to be cleared by health quarantine officers at anchorage at the 2nd port prior to pilot boarding etc. This procedure will apply for all the ports in the country the vessel will be calling at and is a measure taken to counter the incubation period of the virus.
- All overseas vessels are required to submit pre-arrival documents and National Department of Health screening forms preferably in advance prior to entering the country for assessment by the health quarantine.”
- Any other precautionary measures as advised by the National Department of Health.
“These precautionary measures are to be implemented immediately going forward as part of our efforts to minimise the risk of the deadly 2019 Novel Coronavirus entering PNG,” Mr. Kiniafa said.
“The NDOH and all stakeholders will also meet weekly for updates at Motukea and a small office space has been allocated to the NDOH/health quarantine personnel for the duration of this exercise until further notice,” he said.