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Press Release

ICS Publications announces the launch of the Global Health Emergency Guide, First Edition

1 July 2024

Helping shipping companies and crew prepare, act, and recover


International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Publications is proud to announce the launch of the ‘Global Health Emergency Guide: Helping Shipping Companies Prepare, Act and Recover,’ a comprehensive resource designed to aid shipping companies and crew in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from global health emergencies.

The guide draws on the critical lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic and other global health emergencies that have significantly impacted shipping operations. It sets out a step-by-step action plan that can be seamlessly implemented within a company’s safety management system (SMS) and incorporated into their crisis management plan (CMP).

The guide features extensive insights from global agencies, shipping companies, crews, medical professionals, and welfare organisations. These combined perspectives ensure that companies are well-equipped to prepare for, act on, and recover from global health emergencies, thereby maintaining operational continuity and safeguarding the wellbeing of their crews.

Key content areas include:

  • Roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders
  • Seafarer health and wellness, including mental health support
  • Strategies to reduce the risk of an outbreak on board
  • Crew change protocols for both crewing managers and seafarers
  • Procedures for managing outbreaks in port and at sea
  • Access to medical care on board and at port
  • Emergency communications planning
  • Re-assessing protocols and implementing lessons learned post-emergency
  • Maintaining compliance with international regulations, including the WHO International Health Regulations 2005, the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and the FAL Convention.

“The Covid-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to the maritime industry, highlighting the critical need for comprehensive health emergency preparedness,” said Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping. “This guide reflects on the industry’s collective response to the pandemic, incorporating best practices and lessons learned to better equip companies and crews for future health crises. Our goal is to provide a roadmap that will help safeguard the health and wellbeing of seafarers and ensure operational continuity in the face of global health threats.”

Each section of the guide (before, during, and after an emergency) is supported by a handy toolkit containing over 30 checklists, posters, templates, and forms. These tools help companies practically implement protocols into their SMS and CMP, ensuring they are well-prepared to manage and mitigate the impact of global health emergencies.

This essential tool is intended for shipping companies, shoreside ship superintendents, ship’s crew, and crisis communications teams shore side.

ICS Publications invites all stakeholders within the maritime industry to utilise this essential guide to enhance their preparedness and response strategies for global health emergencies. By adopting the measures detailed in this guide, shipping companies can ensure the safety and wellbeing of their crew and maintain operational continuity during global health crises.

For more information or to purchase the Global Health Emergency Guide, please visit



About ICS

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet –

ICS Publications develops and promotes shipping industry best practices and guidance through a wide range of publications and free resources that are used by ship operators globally.