Since late January 2020, Grand Port Maritime de La Réunion, in close consultation with government authorities (Directorate of the Sea, Regional Operational Centre for Monitoring and Rescue, Regional Health Authority) has been mobilising the port community about procedures to tighten health checks for merchant and cruise vessels.
As a matter of practice all vessels submit their Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) to the Regional Health Authority for processing at least 48 hours prior to arrival. If there are no contraindications, the Regional Health Authority issues a “Clean bill of health”, which it sends to the Port Authority who can then authorise the vessel’s entry into the port.
In addition, when the vessel arrives in La Possession Bay, the harbour master’s office and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (CROSS) now systematically check that there has been no change whatsoever to the situation on board since filing the health declaration. Furthermore, shipping companies must provide details (date and location) of crew members’ embarkment, so that it can be determined whether they were in a risk zone less than 14 days previously.
In the event cases are suspected, the vessel moors pending inspection by the medical emergency services, in coordination with the Maritime Medical Consultation Centre. If the doubt is removed, the vessel is allowed to dock; if (a) case(s) is(are) confirmed, the vessel remains at anchor for the time required to carry out further investigations.
These measures are re-evaluated by government services as the situation evolves. Port Reunion is constantly adapting to new instructions.
Press releases from Reunion Island Prefecture: