News from around Port of Cromarty Firth and Cruise the Highlands.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)



Port of Cromarty Firth 2020 Cruise Season Update (07 August 2020)

Given the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Port of Cromarty Firth can confirm that due to cancellations, there will be no Cruise calls to Invergordon for the rest of the 2020 season. The Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and the Port Health Authority are taking proactive measures to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 and are providing instructions for the Port of Cromarty Firth to follow. We will now concentrate on securing our 2021 season and implementing protocols to keep everyone safe.


Port of Cromarty Firth Health & Safety Procedures

The Port of Cromarty Firth operates within the Transport industry and directly supports the Utilities industries (oil, gas, electricity and water), therefore our staff and activities are included in the UK Government’s ‘Key Workers’ classification. The health and safety of Port staff, Port users and the public is vital, whilst also minimising the disruption to our essential operations. Accordingly, the Port have been following the Port of Cromarty Firth Business Continuity Plan, and implemented effective measures in our offices, onsite and in the Firth.

The key health and safety measures which the Port has taken include:

  • Mitigating the risk to staff by reducing to core functions only onsite.
  • Utilising additional technology to allow home/remote working for as many staff as possible.
  • Telephone and video conferencing are being utilised throughout the business to reduce face-to-face contact and facilitate staff engagement.
  • Non-essential visitors are not permitted to enter Port buildings.
  • Stringent cleaning practices are in place and continued awareness of the importance of good hand hygiene and social distancing is being provided.
  • A contractor has been appointed in order to provide NHS compliant deep cleaning services, if required.
  • Strict Government maritime procedures for all vessels entering the Cromarty Firth have been implemented.

In light of global precautions for COVID-19, Port of Cromarty Firth have put in place safeguards to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 entering the Cromarty Firth and the surrounding environment. The Port are following the instructions from Scottish Government, Public Heath Scotland, Port Health Authority and the World Health Organisation.

In advance of any vessel (including cruise liners) arriving into the Cromarty Firth, they must complete a statutory Maritime Declaration of Health form, which has been specifically amended to address COVID-19. This must state if any passenger(s) or crewmember(s) is suffering from any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have travelled from, visited or transited via known areas infected by the virus.

The form will also indicate the origin of the ship, when it left the origin port, and all ports where the vessel has docked during the 14 days prior to arrival. As the governing body and regulator, the responsibility for managing COVID-19 rests with Highland Council’s Port Health Authority, who will examine the form and only if they are satisfied will the go-ahead be given for the ship to enter the Port.

If a ship declares there are symptoms of COVID-19 on board, it will be held outside the Cromarty Firth limits to allow the Port Health Authority to make their assessment of the situation and quarantine the ship if necessary. Our pilots will only board an incoming vessel when it has been deemed that it is safe to do so, and authorisation has been given for them to proceed.

All quarantined ships will be the responsibility of the Highland Council’s Port Health Authority, NHS Highland, Health Protection Scotland and Scottish Government.

As Highland Council’s Port Health Authority is the regulating authority for communicable diseases (including COVID-19), they engage directly with the NHS and Scottish Government to follow and implement procedures under the World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations to prevent the spread of diseases into the community. The Port will follow statutory guidelines and will assist in the Port Health Authority’s procedures.

The Port are closely monitoring new developments and our policies and procedures will be modified as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of the public, our staff, passengers and crew members. This includes the management and access of all vessels coming into and out of the Cromarty Firth, as per the World Health Authority guidance.


What Can You Do? Primary Control Measures from Health Protection Scotland

Everyone can reduce the risk of getting or spreading any respiratory infections (including COVID-19) by adopting the following effective prevention and treatment measures:

  • Maintaining good hand hygiene, including regularly washing your hands with soap after coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet, and prior to eating and drinking. Please follow this hand cleaning technique advice sheet and wash hands for 20 seconds.
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them immediately in nearest bin after use.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are unwell or that have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items such as their mobile phone.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow ‘Social Distancing’ practices by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people