How the US Coast Guard Helped with Logistics during COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s fair to say that all industries have been hit worldwide. As borders close down, global trade has slowed right down, and people have been prevented from traveling between countries. For the US Coast Guard, it has been one of their strangest and busiest times in history. From the U.S. to Australia, companies like https://www.fcblogistics.com.au have been working hand in hand with government agencies to help get supplies to places in need. Continue reading to learn more about the Coast Guard and their role in helping others during this epidemic.
Firstly, any vessels entering the country must assess the health of their crew and immediately report any sick members. In fact, anybody experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 in the 15 days leading up to their arrival must report to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fortunately, the economy has been able to keep going thanks to the continuation of non-passenger commercial vessels. However, this doesn’t mean that things haven’t changed for everyone involved. For example, nobody aboard the vessel is allowed to leave at any time (unless they’re doing something relating to the operation or the cargo). Otherwise, crew members must remain aboard at all times.
In truth, the Coast Guard has helped in a manner of ways and has kept the ports running smoothly even though we’re facing new challenges. For all medical certificates and merchant’s mariner credentials, for instance, all those expiring between March 1st and July 31st have now been automatically extended to October 31st. As long as the working mariner keeps their expired ID and the MSIB notice, the expiration will be excused.
When it comes to fishing vessels, inspections are carried out depending on the circumstances of the vessel’s movements. Ultimately, for all vessels entering ports around the country, the Coast Guard has been working on a case-by-case basis. Rather than following general rules, those in charge are making decisions based on the scenario in front of them.
In 2020, employers are required to reach a 50% random test rate for all employees to ensure that no workers are taking illegal substances. During this pandemic, the Coast Guard has recommended that office staff carry out the drug tests themselves. However, it also recognizes that not everybody will have the facilities or infrastructure to achieve this. Therefore, rather than taking enforcement action against employers who fail to reach the 50% automatically, each case will be considered in isolation.
Due to the excellent work of the Coast Guard and various other organizations, there has actually been minimal disruption to vessels entering and leaving the country. Although this work has mostly gone under the radar, it’s important to note that the US Coast Guard has been incredibly important with the logistics side of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Houston, one worker tested positive for COVID-19, but the port was back up and running within 24 hours. Even with shelter-in-place orders, Oakland International Airport and the Port of Oakland were able to keep running efficiently. At the Port of Redwood City, cargo operations continued even though public facilities, including restrooms, were closed off.
How has the Coast Guard been able to be so effective while other areas of the country have struggled? For one reason, the outbreak of Ebola half a decade ago. Then the largest global epidemic affecting Americans, the Coast Guard, launched the Portable Isolation Unit (PIU) while the Department of Defense developed the Transportation Isolation System (TIS). With these systems in place, the Coast Guard could help infected patients to safety and to the medical help they needed without putting others at risk. Approved by the FDA, the air purifier helps the patient and is one example of the preparedness of the Coast Guard for the COVID-19 pandemic.