Action to be expected of the Port Health Authority (ANVISA)
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, recently declared by the WHO as a global health emergency, Brazil has been adopting control measures for possible assistance in cases of suspected contamination on board vessels. So be informed!
As a standard procedure, vessels destined for a sanitary control port must request free pratique from the Port Health Authority (ANVISA) a maximum of 48 hours and a minimum of 24 hours before the estimated time of arrival at the port.
Free pratique is the permission issued by ANVISA for a vessel to perform the loading and unloading of travelers, cargo or supplies, in accordance with Resolution No. 72/2009 and is provided for in the International Health Regulations 2005.
The Free Pratique Certificate is a non-transferable document, issued after analysis of the operational and hygienic-sanitary conditions of the vessel and the health of its travelers, based on the documentary analysis of the information presented when requested and / or a health inspection carried out on board the vessel.
Upon request for free pratique, an ANVISA designated officer shall carry out the analysis of the documentation delivered and, if understood to be necessary, will carry out an inspection on board.
In cases in which coronavirus is suspected on board a vessel, it will not be authorized to operate and the disembarkation of any crew member shall not be allowed.
Action starts with an inspection by ANVISA and by the epidemiological surveillance department, which will go on board to inspect the ship and assess the allegedly infected crew.
After inspection and evaluation, if the suspicion persists, the crew member will be taken to a hospital prepared for the reception and treatment of these cases. In addition to not being authorized to operate, the crew shall be prevented from disembarking.
If the case is confirmed, ANVISA and epidemiological surveillance will make an assessment of the crew that remained on board.
If symptoms appear whilst a vessel is already in operation, ANVISA shall order the suspension of the operation and the crew members shall be prevented from disembarking. ANVISA shall also investigate whether the suspected contaminated crew member had already disembarked in order for the epidemiological surveillance team to investigate possible contagious contacts on land.
It goes without saying that Masters have a duty to immediately report to the agent any symptoms of the coronavirus on board.