Risk model to assess COVID-19 dangers onboard ships launched

Gloves and masks as part of PPE. Credit: Futurity

A risk model to evaluate the danger of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission to work sites, including onboard ships, has been launched by ABS Group, a subsidiary of American Bureau of Shipping focused on risk management.

The Restart Risk Model identifies key high-risk areas onboard, where many people congregate or work in close proximity, or in common spaces with shared equipment or surfaces. It then provides a series of recommendations, or controls to be implemented by crew to mitigate the highlighted risks.

Once the data has been inputted, the risk models’ dashboard creates a floorplan of the vessel, with colour-coded risk areas, model recommendations, and an implementation plan.

The model also takes into consideration the risks of routine ship operations, for example when surveyors or other third party workers come onboard. “The model treats third parties as higher risk than employees; so, for areas with high interaction with third parties, PPE for both employees and third parties is often recommended,” said Matt Mowrer, director, product development and innovation centre, ABS Group.

ABS Group said the risk model was developed to build confidence to allow workers, especially seafarers, to return to work. It is hoped that the risk model will reduce the possibility of coronavirus spreading after a crew change. “Crew changes are a critical time to avoid an infected person to go onboard, a strategy and proper controls to manage the process are required,” explained Mowrer to SAS. “New crew members screening is not the only action to ensure they are not or will not be infected, and the model provides a more comprehensive approach.”

The model can also be used to develop measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks in ports, assessing the interaction of the vessel with onshore workers and the controls that will be required to limit any possible infection on board.

Mowrer said the tool was designed primarily for the use of ship managers to assess the risk and identify the required controls to be passed onto the ship. “Its results can be applied to several vessels that may have similar processes, making it more efficient,” he added.

The Restart Risk Model was built by ABS Group incorporating recommendations from the Centre of Disease Control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as international guidance provided by World Health Organisation and the European Union.