President’s Welcome Message
It is my great pleasure to announce that the international “Public Health Congress on Maritime Transport and Ports 2022: sailing to the post-COVID-19 era” will take place on 21-22 October 2022 in the historic city of Athens, Greece.
The inaugural congress is being organised by the European Scientific Association for Health and Hygiene in Maritime Transport (EU SHIPSAN ASSOCIATION), in collaboration with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise).
The aim of the event is to bring together expert, scientists, researchers, governmental officials, the maritime industry, port administrations, as well as the related stakeholders to discuss best practices and current research and innovation activities and results in ports and in all types of ships of issues related to i) environmental health and hygiene, ii) prevention of foodborne, waterborne and vector - borne diseases, iii) Norovirus gastroenteritis, COVID-19, influenza and other vaccine - preventable diseases, iv) crew occupational health, v) cross - border health threats related to maritime transport sector and vi) preparedness and response to infectious diseases.
The governments, the scientific community, as well as the industry have taken actions to prevent, mitigate and control public health events during routine operations on board ships and at ports, as well as during emergencies. Example of routine events are outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis, varicella, Legionellosis, measles, dengue, meningitis, tuberculosis, chickenpox and influenza like illness. Past emergencies including the H1N1 influenza pandemic (2009), the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak (2014) and the Zika Virus Disease outbreak (2016) revealed the necessity for preparedness to public health events of the shipping industry, the ports and the related industries. The current COVID-19 pandemic impacted greatly ship and port operations and demonstrated the necessity for continuing efforts to prepare and respond to public health events related to maritime travel and to control cross-border disease spread. The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on maritime transport, and particularly on passenger shipping has been devastating as globally implemented border closures and other public health measures in response to COVID-19 led to movement restrictions of passengers and crew, while also influencing international trade.
Given the unprecedented challenges faced by the maritime transport sector in responding to COVID-19 and the ongoing public health challenges faced, a need has emerged for maritime transport stakeholders including ports, the shipping industry and governments to engage in discussions, share experiences and reflect on lessons learned during past public health events and especially over the last two years. As we look forward to a post-COVID-19 era, it is critical for us to use lessons learned and knowledge gained as a foundation for best practices, that can be used to revise public health emergency contingency plans and improve preparedness and response at ports and on-board ships.
Let us all take the opportunity to network, enjoy and learn from each other during the Public Health Congress on Maritime Transport and Ports.
We look forward to welcoming you in Athens, Greece in October 2022.
President of the EU SHIPSAN ASSOCIATION
Coordinator of the EU joint actions HEALTHY GATEWAYS & SHIPSAN ACT
Professor of Hygiene and Epidemiology
University of Thessaly, Greece