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Illness on Board

Who is responsible for notifying the authority

When arriving from a foreign port, a Master of a ship is required to report to the Port Health Authority any suspected infectious disease or death on board amongst crew, passengers or any animals or birds. This report should be made not less than 4 hours and not more than 12 hours before arrival.

For aircraft, the Captain is responsible for notifying the Authority.

What constitutes a reportable incident

a. the occurrence on board ship before arrival of
  i. the death of a person otherwise than as a result of an accident, or
  ii. illness where the person who is ill has or had a temperature of 38¼C or greater which was accompanied by a rash, glandular swelling or jaundice, or where such temperature persisted for more than 48 hours, or
  iii. illness where the person has or had diarrhoea severe enough to interfere with work or normal activities;

b. the presence on board of a person who is suffering from an infectious disease or who has symptoms which may indicate the presence of an infectious disease;

c. any other circumstances on board which are likely to cause the spread of infectious disease; and

d. the presence of animals or captive birds, and the occurrence of mortality or sickness amongst such animals or birds.

How do i notify the authority of a suspected illness

This can be done in several ways, via radio message to the relevant Port Control, email, telephone or fax.  Our contact details can be found in the contact us section of this website.

Mersey Port Health Authority operates a 24 hour telephone standby system.

Port Medical Officers are on call to visit vessels and aircraft to enable a diagnosis to be made of the illness and to recommend further action to prevent the spread of the disease.

What documentation is required

Masters of vessels and ship surgeons (where applicable) should complete a Maritime Declaration of Health which should then be forwarded to the Port Health Authority.

Declarations must be fully completed whenever there is a suspected or confirmed case of infectious disease on board a ship arriving in port, or whenever there are animals or captive birds on board the vessel and if they have shown any mortality or signs of infectious disease.

An Aircraft General Declaration must be completed in similar circumstances

Granting Pratique

‘Pratique' is a permission granted by the port medical authorities to a vessel, on its arrival from a foreign port, for her crew to go ashore and visitors to come onboard.  If a ship is not given ‘free pratique', either because of serious infectious diseases being onboard or because the vessel has arrived from an infected zone, it is likely to have quarantine restrictions imposed on her.