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‘V.O.C. Port adheres to all safety measures to prevent spreading of COVID-19’

The V.O. Chidambaranar Port has made it clear that it was following all safety and hygienic practices as recommended by the State and the Central Governments while handling cargo.

An official statement said operations of seaports are covered under ‘essential services’ and are exempted from lockdown, so that all essential goods and raw materials are made available to the public and the manufacturing units in a seamless manner. Some of the basic commodities handled by the Port include coal for thermal power generation, petroleum products to cater to energy needs, edible oil and food grains and critical medical equipment etc. Bulk commodities and containers are handled by modern equipment requiring minimum human intervention.

While maintaining the supply chain at this critical period by handling the cargo, VOC Port is taking all precautionary measures by stringently following the instructions / Standard Operating Procedures received from Ministry of Shipping and Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai and Government of Tamil Nadu and also the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Port Health Organization, Thoothukudi under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

As per the orders issued by DG (Shipping), vessels arriving directly from any Port in China or transiting through Chinese Ports are allowed for berthing only after quarantine period of 14 days from the date of departure of the vessel from the Chinese Port.

Vessels arriving from Ports of other affected countries as identified by Ministry of Health and Family welfare, Government of India before 14 days of departure from the infected Port, or having seafarers embarked on the vessel who have been in infected regions within 14 days of arrival at any Indian port shall need to comply with additional measures including wearing of personal protective equipments like N-95 masks, gloves etc. In addition, regular maritime PPE like shoes, helmet, working gloves etc. are to be worn as per the existing practices of the ports besides ensuring hand hygiene.

All ships arriving from any of the Ports are mandated to produce pre-arrival documents like Maritime declaration of Health, Port of call list, crew list, Medical log copy, any shore medical visit or Radio Medical Advice or medical evacuation or sign off done in last 1 month, Ship sanitation exemption certificate / medicine chest certificate and International Health Regulations 2005- nCoV 2019- format by the Ship Agent prior to 72 hours of arrival to the Port Health Officer (PHO).

Only after scrutiny of the above documents and screening procedures, clearance is granted by PHO and customs and immigration formalities are carried out for discharge of cargo operations by the Port. Moreover, no crew disembarking is allowed and no shore passes are issued to crew members to prevent them from leaving the ship and to ensure safe operations.

The Port and the terminals are operating with only minimum number of essential employees as required to carry out Port operations. In addition, all employees performing the operational activities are provided with adequate protective gears and advised to observe appropriate health and hygiene practices.

In addition, the stakeholders of the Port like Customs, Immigration, Mercantile Marine Department, Terminal Operators, Shipping Agents, Stevedores, Container Freight Stations and Truck Transport Operators have also been advised to follow all SOPs and precautionary measures like maintaining social distancing, practice of hygiene and cough etiquette and usage of PPEs and advisories issued time to time from Port Health Officer.

Hence, the public are requested not to believe and spread any rumours by uninformed elements, against whom the District Collector had been requested to take appropriate action for spreading rumours, the statement said.
Source: The Hindu

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