133
1 INTRODUCTION
The COVID19 pandemic without any doubts has
changedtheworld.Needlesstosay,mostpeopledid
notexpectthisturnofeventsatall.Alsoinmaritime
transport, this epidemic has left its mark. This
resulted,amongothers,anErasmus+projectinitiative.
TheprojectcalledDESSEV
isdevotedtoissuesrelated
to the outbreak of an epidemic on the seagoing
vessel. In practice, the vessel becomes a moving
isolatorwithagreatpotentialto“release”thedisease
over a larger area. The COVID19 outbreak has
demonstrated that in many places there are no
mechanisms for
dealing with disease emergencies.
Althoughmanyagreementsandcontractsanticipated
“force majeure” risks, no one was aware of the fact
that this could be global. COVID19 has shown that
veryoftenexistingproceduresarenotadaptedtothe
reality around us. Very often, new ones need to be
developed
quickly.Sometimesthereisevennolegal
basis to impellent and apply such procedures.
Different solutions related to the coronavirus threat
havebeenadoptedineachcountry.Someactionsturn
toberight,somedon’t.Unfortunately,inmanycases
the social factor is also important (opposition to
vaccination, lockdowns, etc.). Sometimes,
however,
wefindourselvesinasituationwherewecannotwait
for new procedures to be developed. COVID19 has
had a negative impact on almost all areas of the
economy.Itcanbesaidthatthisisthegreatestglobal
threat since the Second World War. The aim of
DESSEVprojectistobuildanexpertsystemregarding
theriskofepidemicthreatsonaseagoingvessel(not
onlyCOVID19).Everymerchantship,pleasurecraft,
sailing yacht have to be equipped with appropriate
communication devices associated with the area of
movements.Itmayberadio,satellitestation, mobile
phone,etc.Eachofthemdeterminesdifferentwayto
obtain medical assistance (or advice). In addition
radiooperatorsonboardoftheshipmustbecertified
Repository of Data on Epidemic Situations on Sea
Vessels
I. BodusOlkowska
1
, I. Garczyńska
1
, A. Lisaj
1
, M. Mąka
1
, M. Dramski
2
, A. Chronopoulos
3
,
T.Gregoric
4
,H.Koivisto
5
,G.deMeloRodriguez
6
,R.Ziarati
7
&K.Filipiak
8
1
MaritimeUniversityofSzczecin,Szczecin,Poland
2
BerlinSchoolofBusinessandInnovation,Berlin,Germany
3
IDECSA,Pireas,Greece
4
Spinaker,Portoroz,Slovenia
5
SatakuntaUniversityofAppliedSciences,Pori,Finland
6
TechnicalUniversityofBarcelona,Barcelona,Spain
7
CentreforFactoriesoftheFutureLtd.,Kenilworth,UnitedKingdom
8
WarsawUniversitythem.MariaSkłodowskaCurie,Warsaw,Poland
ABSTRACT: This article is an introduction to the DESSEV (DEcision Support System regarding the risk of
EpidemicthreatsonaseagoingVessel)project implementedaspartof theErasmus+partnership underthe
leadershipoftheMaritimeUniversityofSzczecin.This
projectconsistsofthreeelements:adatarepository,a
rulebaseandadecisionsupportsystem.Duetothescheduleofworksintheproject,onlythefirstofthemwas
presented.Thenextoneswillbedescribedinsubsequentpublicationsatvariousinternationalconferences.The
ideaoftheprojectnaturally
resultedfromtheCOVID19pandemic,butotherinfectiousoutbreaksmay also
occuronseavessels,posingathreattotheshipʹscrewandpassengers(passengertransport).Theexistinglegal
regulations,availableknowledge ortrainingdo not sufficientlyaddresstheproblem of the epidemiconthe
state. Therefore, it
was decided to introduce a novelty‐a decision support system, which is designed to
facilitatetakingtherightstepsintheeventofaninfectiousdiseaseonaseagoingvessel.
http://www.transnav.eu
the International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 18
Number 1
March 2024
DOI:10.12716/1001.18.01.12
134
by authorized organization and familiarized with
maritime radiocommunication procedures. There are
coupletypesofradiooperatorcertificatesdependson
their purpose. For example, most common is SRC
(Short Range Certificate) used by sailors and GOC
(General Operator’s Certificate) required by STCW
(Standard for Training Certification and
Watchkeeping) for deck
officers. The motivation of
theprojectistodeliveranexpertsystemwhichmay
behelpfultoresolvethreeproblems.Firsthownon
medical personnel can accurately access medical
situation?Second whichmedicalfacility shouldbe
contacted with? And the third what mean of
communicationshouldbeused?
The aforementioned project consists of three
stages:arepositoryofdataonepidemicsituations,a
knowledgebaseintheformofIF...THENrulesanda
proper decision support system. Currently, the first
phaseoftheprojectisunderway,i.e.thedevelopment
ofthedatarepository,towhichthisarticleis
devoted.
2 IMPACTOFCOVID19ONTHEMARITIME
SECTORINEU
Itisestimatedthat90%ofworldtradeiscarriedout
by sea. Maritime transport is a key element of the
global economy. Ensuring the supply chain during
COVID19 pandemic was extremely important. The
demand for items such
as food was constant. There
was a high increase in the demand for all kinds of
medicalsupplies.
European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has
publishedareportinwhichitestimatedtheimpactof
COVID19 on maritime transport in the European
Union.Theimpactofthisepidemiconthe
European
maritime economy can be considered in three
dimensions[6]:
Traffic
Maritimetrade
Shipbuilding
2.1 Traffic
When it comes to ship traffic, the COVID19
pandemic caused a decrease of 10.2%, which can be
seeninFigure1.Interestingly,thefirstquarterof2020
was at the same
level as in previous years. In the
secondquarter,therewasasharpdropof26.5%.The
explanation of this phenomenon is obvious. It is
simplyduetothecourseoftheepidemic.
Figure1Trafficdisruptionandnormalisation[6]
2.2 Maritimetrade
In the case of trade (exports, imports and internal
tradein theEU, Figure 3), a decreaseinturnover of
9.3% was observed. This is a very high value of the
indicatorbecauseitcorrespondsto226milliontonsof
goods. The highest decrease was noted in imports
12.1%. Domestic, internal trade fell by 7.1% and
exports by 4.3%. All values in 2020 are presented
relativeto2019.
Itisalsoworthlookingattheindividualcategories
ofgoods.Wecanclearlyseeadeclineinoil,gasand
car trade. Trade in chemicals, dry bulk or
reefer
cargoesincreasedslightly.
Figure2.MaritimetradeintheEU[6]
2.3 Impactonshipbuilding
Globally,ordersfornewshipsfellby30%(Figure3).
Nevertheless, the level of production compared to
2019 was maintained in 85%. However, the
shipbuilding industry in the EU has been severely
affected by the COVID19 pandemic. In Europe, the
focus was on building cruise ships.
In this case,
compared to 2019, the number of new orders
decreasedbyasmuchas98%(34%globally).
Figure3. Impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the
shipbuildingindustry[6]
135
3 DEALINGWITHEPIDEMICONSHIP
Dealing with an epidemic on ship is a challenging
task,but withproperplanningand execution, it can
be managed effectively [5, 11]. The following steps
canhelpincontrollingthespreadofepidemic:
Early Detection: The first step in dealing with
an
epidemic on a ship is to identify the disease as
earlyaspossible.Thiscanbedonebymonitoring
the health of passengers and crew members, and
reportinganysignsofillnesstotheship’smedical
team.Theship’smedicalteamshouldbeequipped
with diagnostic tools and medications to
quickly
identifyandtreatanycasesofillness.
Isolation: Once a case of illness is identified, the
affected person should be isolated to prevent the
disease from spreading to others. The ship’s
medical team should have a plan in place for
isolating and treating sick passengers and crew
members.
Isolationareasshouldbewellventilated
andequippedwithmedicalsupplies.
Sanitation: Maintaining good hygiene and
sanitation practices is critical in preventing the
spread of disease on a ship. All common areas,
cabins,andrestroomsshouldberegularlycleaned
anddisinfected.Handhygienepracticesshouldbe
emphasized, and passengers and
crew members
should be encouraged to wash their hands
frequently.
Contact Tracing: In the event of an outbreak,
contact tracing can help to identify individuals
who may have been exposed to the disease. The
ship’smedicalteamshouldhaveaplaninplacefor
contact tracing and should work
closely with
public health officials on shore to identify any
potentialsourcesofinfection.
Communication: Open and transparent
communication is essential in managing an
epidemiconaship.Passengersandcrewmembers
should be informed of any cases of illness and
what measures are being taken to control the
outbreak.
Regular updatesshould be provided to
all individuals on board, and clear instructions
shouldbe givenon howto preventthespreadof
thedisease.
By following these steps, an epidemic on a ship
canbemanagedeffectively,andthehealthandsafety
ofallindividualsonboardcanbe
maintained.
In additionto the mentionedsteps, thereare few
other factors to consider when dealing with an
epidemiconaship:
Evacuation:Insomecases,itmaybenecessaryto
evacuate passengers and crew members from the
shiptoprevent the spreadofdisease. Evacuation
plansshouldbein
place,andproceduresforsafely
transferring individuals to shore should be
established.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The ship’s
medical team and crew members who are in
contactwithpotentiallyinfectedindividualshould
beprovidedwithappropriatePPE,suchasmasks,
glovesandgowns.PPEshouldbeusedaccording
to
established guidelines and should be properly
disposedofafteruse.
Quarantine: If the ship is in a port, it may be
necessary to implement a quarantine to prevent
thediseasefromspreadingtothelocalcommunity.
Theship’smedicalteamshouldworkcloselywith
local health authorities to determine the
best
courseofaction.
Testing: Diagnostic testing can help to identify
individuals who have been infected with the
disease. The ship’s medical team should follow
establishedguidelinesfortestingandreporting.
MentalHealth:Dealingwithanepidemiconaship
canbestressfulforpassengers.
TheInternationalMaritime
Organizationprovides
guidanceonprotectingthehealthofseafarersduring
theCOVID19pandemic[8].TheEuropeanCentrefor
Disease Prevention and Control offers guidance on
COVID19preventionandcontrolonboardships[7].
TheAmericanSocietyofTravelAdvisorshascreated
aCOVID19CruiseShipResourceCenterwith
helpful
informationfortravelersandtraveladvisors[1].
4 EXAMPLESOFHISTORICALANDMOST
RECENTEPIDEMICONSHIPANDTHE
RESULTS
Oneexampleofahistoricalepidemiconashipisthe
outbreak of smallpox on the HMS Britannia in 1805
whichledtothedeathsofseveralcrewmembers
and
quarantiningoftheship[2]. Anotherexample is the
Spanish flu outbreak on the troopship Leviathan in
1918,whichresultedinover2000casesand80deaths
[9].Athirdexampleistheoutbreakofcholeraonthe
steamshipMoraviain1887,whichledtothedeathsof
over60
passengersandcrewmembers[3].
One recent example of an epidemic on as ship is
the COVID19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess
cruiseshipin2020,whichresultedinover700 cases
and14 deaths[10].Anotherexampleistheoutbreak
of norovirus on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of
the
Seas in 2019, which resulted in over 500 cases of
gastrointestinalillness[4].
Oneofthedeadliestepidemicsonaship wasthe
outbreak of the Black Death (bubonic plague) on
boardtheGenoesefleetin1347.Thefleetwascarrying
soldiers and supplies from the Crimea to Italy, and
the disease spread rapidly among the crew and
passengers. According to historical accounts, the
diseasewassoseverethatthesailorsandsoldierson
boardtheshipsdiedsoquicklythatthefleetwasleft
withoutenoughcrewtosailthevessels,andmanyof
theshipsdriftedaimlesslyuntil
theyranagroundor
sank.Itisestimatedthatupto90%ofthepeopleon
board the Genoeses fleet died from the Black Death
duringtheoutbreak[12]
5 REPOSITORYPROPOSAL
Thepredevelopedversionoftherepositorycontains
55documentsrelatingdirectlytoepidemicsituations
onboard.Therepository
includes,amongothers,IMO
recommendations, WHO recommendations, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention guides, case
reportsandanumberofscientificarticlesrelatingin
their subject matter primarily to the most recent
COVID19 outbreak. Summary statistics relative to
136
authors and categories of materials are shown in
Figure4and5.
Figure4Therepositorybyauthors,ownstudy
Figure5.Therepositorybytype,ownstudy
In addition, the repository will also include
procedures for dealing with COVID19 made
accessiblebyfriendlyshipownersandshipmasters.
In the course of the search for materials and
documents,severalprocedureswerealsoencountered
for dealing with the diagnosis of malaria, ebola or
chickenpoxamong the shipʹs passengers
or staff.
Suchproceduresareavailableonlineandgovernedby
thelawsofthespecificcountry.Anexampleofsucha
procedure can be read on:
https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/management/
guidancecruiseshipsvaricella.html.
At the time of preparing this manuscript, the
repository containsmaterials related to the handling
ofanepidemicona
shipcasesonly.Researchworkis
currentlyinprogresstoexpandtherepositorywitha
section related to the medical aspect of epidemic
detection and prevention. The two parts of the
repository will be equivalent in terms of repository
relevance. In addition, having a complete of both
parts of the
repository, a hierarchy of priority of
individualdocumentswillbeestablished,bothinthe
partrelatingdirectlytothesituationontheboardand
themedicalaspects.
6 CONCLUSIONS
Arepositoryofdataonepidemicsituationsonships
at sea proposed in DESSEV project would be useful
forseveralreasons:
Early detection and prevention: Having access to
historicaldataonepidemicsituationsonshipscan
helpidentifytrendsandpatternsthatcanbeused
to develop strategies for early detection and
prevention of future outbreaks. This information
canbeusedbypublichealthauthoritiestodevelop
guidelinesformanagingoutbreaks
onships,which
can help to reduce the spread of infectious
diseases.
Response planning: Historical data can also be
used to develop response plans for managing
outbreaksonships.Theinformationcanbeusedto
identify the most effective response strategies,
such as quarantine measures or vaccination
campaigns, and to
develop protocols for
communicating with ship operators and crew
members.
Research: A repository of data on epidemic
situationsonshipscanalsobeavaluableresource
for researchers studying infectious diseases. This
informationcan be used to better understandthe
transmissiondynamicsofdiseasesonshipsandto
identify
riskfactorsthatcontributetooutbreaks.
Public awareness: Access to data on epidemic
situationsonshipscanalsobeusedtoraisepublic
awareness about risks associated with travel on
shipsandtopromotemeasurestoreducetherisk
ofinfection.
Overall, a repository of data on epidemic
situations on
ships at sea can provide a valuable
resourceforpublichealthauthorities,researchers,and
thepublic,helpingtopreventthespreadofinfectious
diseasesandtopromotepublichealthandsafety.
InthispapertheimpactofCOVID19onEuropean
maritimeeconomywasdescribed.Besidestheauthors
performed a
literature review in order to propose
someprocedureswithdealingtheepidemicsituation
at sea. Finally, some historical cases of serious
infectiousdiseaseswasdescribed.Currentlythemain
problem is COVID19 but we can’t deny that in the
futurea newseriousproblems may occur, including
newdangerousvirusesetc.

Theproposed datarepositoryis onlyafirststage
inDESSEVproject.Themainreasonofthisproposal
was to develop and implement the decision support
system dealing with epidemic threats. The work on
thissystemiscarriedoutandtheendoftheprojectis
anticipated on 30 October
2024. The results and
discussion will be published during different
conferences, events and in different international
journals. The partners want to involve some
important maritime organizations too like IMO,
EMSA and many others. All the stakeholders are
invited to participate in the project lifetime and the
outcomes.
137
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Thisarticlewascreatedincooperationwiththepartnersof
the DESSEV project implemented by the Maritime
University of Szczecin as part of the Erasmus+ program.
FinancedbytheEuropeanUnion.Contractnumber:20221
PL01KA220VET000087987. For more information please
visit:www.desssevproject.eu
REFERENCES
[1]AmericanSocietyofTravelAdvisors.(2020).COVID19
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CruiseShipResourceCenter
[2]Boodle, G. (2014). The Role of the Royal Navy in the
Control and Prevention of Smallpox in the Nineteenth
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[3]Bowler, G. (2005). The
Moravia Outbreak of 1887:
DisasteratSea.JournalofMaritimeResearch,7(1),116.
[4]CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention(2019).Oasis
of the Seas. January 2019.
www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/outbreak/2019/Oasis_of_th
e_Seas.html
[5]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020).
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suspected or confirmed COVID19 cases.,
www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/covid19ship
guidance.html,viewed11February2023
[6]EMSAn.d.,COVID19:impactonthemaritimesectorin
theEU,EMSA,viewed10February2023
[7]European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
(2021). Guidance forCOVID19 preventionand control
on board ships.,
www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/COV
ID19guidancemaritimetransport2021
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[8]International Maritime Organization. (2020).
Coronavirus(COVID19)GuidanceforShipOperators