The Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 (the Order) sets the directions that must be followed by people who arrive in NSW on certain vessels from overseas. The Order refers to this guideline and details the times at which people boarding and/or disembarking from these vessels must comply with this guideline.

Last updated: 10 January 2022
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Important terms

Hand hygiene means cleaning hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub to kill germs that can cause disease (see Hand Hygiene poster).

Direct contact means any activity where there is face-to-face interaction with international crew (within 1.5m distance).

Indirect contact means any action where a person has handled items handled by international crew or worker.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) means anything used or worn to minimise the risk to maritime workers' health and safety. In this document the focus of PPE relates to reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission between persons.

People to whom this guideline applies

This guideline provides information on the recommended level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between persons onboard overseas vessels and seaport workers. Everyone who works on a vessel, or at a NSW port, needs to be aware of their responsibilities.

Responsibilities

  • It is the responsibility of the operator of a vessel and the employer of persons staffed at a NSW port to:
    • make sure that they understand the required PPE, and that their staff are provided with the correct PPE based on their role and tasks
    • provide training and information on PPE usage to ensure their staff are aware of the correct donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) procedures, as well as how and when to perform hand hygiene at appropriate times.  Regular refresher training is strongly advised.
  • All persons that are required to board and/or disembark a vessel must be aware of their responsibility to:
    • use the correct PPE for their role and tasks (use table below)
    • where reasonably practicable, keep a distance of 1.5metres between the people on the overseas vessel and the people based at NSW ports
    • practice good hand hygiene when on board and when departing a vessel

Persons required to disembark a vessel (international crew)

Persons permitted to disembark a vessel to undertake an essential task must comply with these guidelines. While undertaking an essential task they must wear (at a minimum) the following PPE:

  • surgical mask (disposable) that covers the nose and mouth
  • they must also perform regular hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub (See Hand Hygiene poster).

Persons disembarking a vessel to undertake an essential task must:

  • Where reasonably practicable, keep a distance of 1.5 metres from NSW-based port workers. If they cannot maintain at least 1.5 metres distance, then eye protection (goggles) as well as a surgical mask must be worn over the nose and mouth.
  • In addition, performing regular hand hygiene using alcohol-based hand rub and following the directions as detailed on Hand Hygiene poster is recommended. Wearing gloves is not a substitute for hand hygiene, as they do not provide complete protection, and can hinder hand hygiene efforts.

Persons entering a NSW port

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 only certain people are allowed to board, and then disembark a vessel in order to undertake essential tasks. People boarding and disembarking a vessel under the Order must also comply with these guidelines in relation to the use of PPE.

Other people who have direct or indirect contact with international crew or who have direct contact with items handled by international crew should follow these guidelines.

Important safety measures to protect against COVID-19

  • Please use Table 1 and Table 2 to identify the appropriate level of PPE that should be worn based on your role.
  • If the recommended level of PPE will compromise the safety of your work, it should not be used. It is important (where possible) to think of other ways that you can protect yourself from COVID-19 and continue to achieve the goal of your job. Consider:
    • swapping face-to-face contact for phone contact to maintain a safe distance from crew at all times. Use video calls or other forms of remote communication where possible.
    • using disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces that may have been touched by others
    • staying outdoors or in well ventilated rooms where possible.

Vaccination is strongly recommended to protect NSW maritime workers against COVID-19 infection.  To book your vaccination please visit the Commonwealth Vaccine Clinic Finder.

Table 1 – Level of PPE required by maritime workers based on roles at maritime ports

Identify your role and the risk category. If your role is not listed in Table 1, please refer to Table 2.
Do not use PPE if it will compromise the safety of your work. Consider the other important safety measures to protect against COVID-19 as detailed above.

Please refer to the Hand Hygiene poster for steps on how to perform hand hygiene.

CategoryRecommended PPEExamples of roles
High risk
A person who has direct contact with international crew within 1.5m distance.
  • Surgical mask (disposable) worn over the nose and mouth
  • Eye protection
  • Long sleeved gown (disposable) if likely to be in physical contact with crew
  • Hand hygiene
  • Marine Pilots
  • Surveyors
  • Terminal staff
  • Ships vetting inspector
  • Connection staff (e.g. connecting hosing, water, fuel)
  • Emergency staff
  • Transport drivers (e.g. drivers transporting individuals to and from quarantine facilities)
  • Australian Border Force
  • Police Officers
  • Ship cleaning and maintenance staff
Moderate risk
A person who has contact with crew, but can maintain a distance of at least 1.5m at all times. Includes anyone boarding a vessel, even if they do not have contact with crew.
  • Surgical mask (disposable) worn over the nose and mouth
  • Hand hygiene
  • Eye protection if possibility of close proximity to crew, including in outdoor environments.
  • Stevedores
  • AMSA Inspectors
  • Port Captains and Shore Officers
  • Biosecurity Officers
  • Work, Health and Safety Officers
  • Terminal staff (e.g. checking manifold, moorings, waterside activities)
Low risk
No direct or indirect contact with international crew but do have direct contact with items handled by international persons.
  • Surgical mask (disposable) worn over the nose and mouth
  • Hand hygiene
  • Providores (receiving or loading cargo)
  • Office based staff

Table 2 - Recommended PPE based on risk category

Do not use PPE if it will compromise the safety of your work. Consider the other important safety measures to protect against COVID-19 as detailed above.

Performing regular hand hygiene using the method described in the Hand Hygiene poster. Use of disposable gloves is not recommended as they do not provide complete protection, can hinder hand hygiene, and increase the risk of infecting yourself with COVID-19 if not used properly.


Risk category
Hand hygieneDisposable glovesFluid resistant or isolation gownSurgical maskEye protection
High risk
Direct contact with international crew within 1.5m distance either on or off the vessel.
Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Moderate risk
Contact with crew but can maintain a distance of at least 1.5m. At a minimum anyone boarding a vessel must comply with these requirements.
Yes No No Yes Yes
Low risk
No direct or indirect contact with international crew but does have direct contact with items handled by international persons.
Yes No No  Yes No

Poster – Hand Hygiene

Please print World Health Organization hand hygiene poster for your workplace to remind people how to perform hand hygiene.


Current as at: Monday 10 January 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW