COVID-19 MOMBASA PORT SITUATION STATEMENT BY THE ACTING MANAGING DIRECTOR ENG. RASHID SALIM
As you are aware COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic threatening to wipe out human lives and the Port of Mombasa just like many other industries is not exceptional.
We therefore wish to share the latest update and the efforts being undertaken by the Kenya Ports Authority management to control the spread of the virus.
As of today 14thApril2020, KPA has seven confirmed COVID-19 cases since the epidemic started. Four of these cases involve KPA staff while three are contracted cleaners working in the Port. Unfortunately, we have since lost two members of staff to the disease while all those who had contacts with the patients have been identified and are being monitored in quarantine within Mombasa.
Currently, all the patients are admitted at the Coast Provincial General hospital and are responding well to treatment.
KPA wishes to reiterate its commitment in fighting the scourge, we have already instituted several serious measures to control the spread of the virus in the Port.
Following the outbreak of the killer disease we appointed a committee of senior managers to plan, manage and coordinate the Authority's preparedness to combat the virus. We are proud of the good job by the Committee which has since enhanced KPA's preparedness by making concerted efforts to acquire preventive equipment and facilities.
We have so far put up 107 handwashing points with antiseptic soap and placed sanitizer dispensers at various areas. These include all entry gates, buildings, offices and operation areas and most importantly staff are regularly issued with face masks. We now have screen notices at the Port entrances especially at gate 24 which prompt everyone to wear a mask before entering the Port compound.
It is also important to note that we have enabled our on-line cargo documentation processes to facilitate our customers clear cargo electronically and decongest human traffic within the Port.Still on awareness, we are also using stationary Public Address System to remind workers abouthygiene requirements.
Fumigation has also been carried out especially in offices occupied by staff found to be positive or suspected to have contracted the virus and plans are underway to extend this to cover the entire port.Surgical gowns have been acquired for clinical staff and those with close interaction with vessels such as pilots, security officers among others.
To ensure compliance,Isolation rooms have been set up at Bandari clinic where suspected patients are temporarily held waiting for public health officers to pick them up. More rooms are being prepared for this purpose.
The management has also released staff above 58 years of age and those with pre-medical conditions to work from respective homes in order to avoid crowds at the workplacein line with the government circular.
As you are aware, we are the key facilitators of maritime trade hence together with the Port Public Health officers we have rolled out detailed procedures to handle the vessels. These are as follows:
- Mandatory Pre-arrival Reporting on board must be undertaken at least 48 hours before the vessel arrival in Kenya's territorial waters. Masters of ships must therefore submit a duly completed and compulsory Maritime Declaration of Health form to the Port Health officer.
- Masters shall regularly update the Port Health Office on the health status of the crew on board.
- All arriving vessels with crew/passengers with recent travel history to countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days must undergo special monitoring and Port Health mustissue restricted pratique.
- Every ship entering Kenya from a country with confirmed cases of COVID-19 issubjected to rigorous inspection in the designated location as directed by the Harbour Master in consultations with Port Health Office.
- If at any time during a vessel's stay at port, any health risk is reported, a Port Health Officer shall conduct assessments on a case by case basis to manage the risk and eliminate contamination other crew port personnel and others
- Crew/passengers with any of these symptoms (fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, cough or shortness of breathing) the Master Must report to the Port Health Office.
- Crew/passengers of vessels from confirmed COVID-19 countries will Not be granted shore passes. Only Kenyans and foreigners with valid residence permits will be allowed to disembark after presentation of Health Declaration forms and by the health Authorities.
- All visitors(dockworkers, agents, surveyors, port state inspectors) to a ship from countries confirmed with COVID-19 cases must be informed about the precautionary measures while on board. It shall be prohibited for anyone to board a vessel before the completion of the health inspection of the crew or passengers. All visitors to use protective disposable mask and latex gloves while on board and should dispose them on board before disembarking in a special disposal bin.
- Masters of all ships due to arrive in a Kenyan port are required to declare their last 10 ports of call or voyage memo for the last three months, whichever is higher, and confirm that there is no crew showing symptoms of COVID-19 on board.
10. Ships agents, if possible, should use alternative means of contacting the vessels instead of boarding the vessels, so as to minimize potential contamination risk.
11. Ship crew change is temporarily suspended until further notice. The exception isgiven to Kenyan crew and persons with valid resident permits.
12. The Masters of vessels shall be required to provide sanitizers at the ship's gangway for persons entering and upon exit.
13. Garbage from vessels arriving from confirmed COVID-19 countries will not be allowed to be discharged at any Kenyan Port.
In conclusion, we would like to assure our staff and the entire port community that no efforts shall be spared to ensure the Port remains a safe working environment. The Authority shall also continue supporting the National and County Government efforts in the war against corona virus.