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Martek Marine launches COVID-19 tests for crew changes

Martek Marine logoNew tests instituted to stop COVID-19 infection at crew change in response to new European Union and and International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines

The European Union and International Maritime Organization (IMO) have issued new guidelines requiring ship operators to implement pre-boarding screening of seafarers.

To assist ship operators comply with these important new guidelines and help protect their vessels from an outbreak of COVID-19, Martek Marine has launched the CoronaSafe finger prick antibody screening test.

From a single drop of blood, CoronaSafe will detect IgM antibodies within 5-7 days of infection. It is particularly useful for detecting infections among subjects who show no symptoms and would otherwise embark undetected.

A study into the COVID-19 outbreak on the cruise ship Diamond Princess estimated that 20.6%-39.9% of cases were asymptomatic, while a study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that up to four-fifths of cases are asymptomatic.

The CoronaSafe test is approved and certified by the European Union as meeting the safety, quality and performance requirements of Standard IVDD 98/79/EC — the highest standard applicable for these devices. It is also in wide-scale use by authorities and corporations in Japan, China, Germany, Poland and Indonesia, and is formally certified by CFDA, Philippines FDA and Singapore Health Sciences Authority.

“Screening crew before boarding is a critical step to prevent avoidable transmission from an asymptomatic crew member,” said Martek CEO Paul Luen. “It’s also an important diagnostic tool for re-screening after leaving or if someone shows symptoms. The effect of an outbreak on a ship could be catastrophic in both business and human terms.”

Major corporations worldwide are rushing to adopt these occupational screening tests to help control the spread of this deadly virus, with demand rising rapidly as the crisis deepens.

Martek, which has limited supply of the tests, are urging shipowners to act quickly to define their policy for crew screening, to maintain the health of their employees and ensure continuation of their shipping operations.

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