The DP3 DSV Southern Star is the first ship in the world, Classed by ASBS, to be acknowledged for its resilience to COVID-19.

Following the outbreak of the worldwide pandemic, the 160-year-old American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has introduced its first IDM-A (Infectious Disease Mitigation – Arrangements) Class Notation and the Tasik-owned vessel is the first to receive the accreditation.

The new class is a gold standard of how to first prevent any new outbreak and, if that isn’t successful, how to mitigate any impact caused by COVID-type diseases. It provides critical guidance on effective preparation, prevention, and management protocols.

Southern Star has proved to ABS’ surveyors that is has: developed detailed procedures to deal with crew changes to prevent infectious diseases entering the ship; contain any disease if there should be an outbreak, and sensible plans to evacuate any serious cases for treatment. It’s also designed a safety ‘citadel’ within the ship by modifying AC/ventilation systems, changing exhaust air routes, changing taps to hands-free and segregating the citadel by doors. This allows cabins to be rapidly converted to isolation spaces.

Tasik CEO John Giddens was delighted that the company’s COVID plans, started at the outset of the pandemic and continually refined, had been acknowledged by ABS. ‘Like many others, we realized an outbreak of COVID onboard our vessel would be a personal and commercial disaster for our crew, our clients and for our company. It would result in stopping the vessel’s work and forcing it to a quarantine anchorage for an extended period, with no movement of people on or off the vessel while the medical issues for our marine and project crew were dealt with.

‘As a result, we’ve been carefully managing our operations and implementing measures to protect our crew and vessel from COVID-19 since early last year. We are pleased to now be able to benchmark our measures against an ABS Class standard and are proud to be the first in the world to achieve IDM-A Class notation.

‘We could not have achieved this without the diligent assistance of ABS, the support of our client, Shelf Subsea and the Ship Manager, Thome Offshore who worked diligently on the hard and soft issues.’

ABS is concerned, given the unique conditions aboard ship, that COVID-19 and other similar infectious diseases could wreak havoc on a vessel if allowed unchecked. Its IDM-A standard has codified best practice, according to Pier Carazzai, its Vice President, South Pacific Region, Global Business Development ‘It provides confidence for operators on managing their offshore operations in a pandemic. Given the environment on marine and offshore assets is restricted, infectious diseases have the potential to spread rapidly.’