It remains to be determined how the coronavirus will play out and as to if additional quarantines and travel restrictions are established.
One may find that ports
become closed both as to allowing departure of vessels and also as to entry of vessels, and / or that quarantine periods may be established, such as requiring 14 days isolated onboard ship before being able to clear immigration and customs
, that is to say, not being able to reprovision or refuel until the statutory period of time has passed, or simply to not be permitted to make landfall.
As to returning to Australia, one may need to spend 14 days at the Christmas
Island Immigration Centre.
The flying of the Yellow signal flag takes on much greater significance. The plain yellow flag ("Quebec" or Q in international maritime signal flags), perhaps derives its letter symbol for its initial use in quarantine, but this flag in modern times indicates the opposite—a ship that declares itself free of quarantinable disease, and requests boarding and inspection
by Port State Control to allow the grant of "free pratique", the grant of license
to enter a port. Due to the contagion, the granting of free pratique very likely may not be provided and one must plan for such occurrences of not being given safe harbor access.
A maritime marking color for disease / contagion is the present flag used for the purpose is the "Lima" (L) flag, which is a mixture of yellow and black flags
previously used. It is sometimes called the "yellow jack", which became a name for yellow fever. It means the vessel is under quarantine.
Whereas another appropriate signal flag to carry aboard is the blue, white, red Whiskey Flag "W" indicates "I require medical
The word quarantine of Italian origin. quarantine (n.)
1660s, "period a ship suspected of carrying disease is kept in isolation," from Italian quarantina giorni, literally "space of forty days," from quaranta "forty," from Latin quadraginta"forty," which is related to quattuor "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four"). So called from the Venetian policy (first enforced in 1377) of keeping ships from plague-stricken countries waiting off its port for 40 days to assure that no latent cases were aboard. The extended sense of "any period of forced isolation" is from 1670s. Also see lazaretto.
"house for reception
of lepers and diseased poor persons," 1540s, from Italian lazareto "place set aside for performance of quarantine" (especially that of Venice, which received many ships from plague-infested districts in the East), from the Biblical proper name Lazarus (q.v.). Meaning "building set apart for quarantine" is c. 1600 in English
. The word in Italian was perhaps influenced by the name of another hospital in Venice, that associated with the church of Santa Maria di Nazaret. Sometimes Englished as lazaret; also known as lazar house (1520s).
It is very unlikely that there would be imposed a quarantina giorni [40 days], as presently the self-quarantine period seems to be accepted to be 14 days. But one should likely provision for allowing for 14 days between ports
By way of example, the US Navy's Pacific Fleet has just implemented a policy of their ships to complete at least 14 day stay as sea between ports of call so as to provide assurances to the port that the ship may next call upon to enter and to request free pratique, that the crew on board has in fact spent at least 14 days away from a port and to certify that the crew is healthy and that no one has come down with coronavirus symptoms. The expectation being in the alternative to the US Navy
imposing its own 14 days of ship board quarantine between ports of call that the port at which they are arriving and requesting free partique of, will instead demand that the same ship remain at anchor
and isolated for the 14 day period. Recreational vessels should expect similar treatment and policy of imposed lengthy periods between ports of call.