Friday deadline for free face masks for maritime workers

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Stephanie Supko, Sealift Operations and Emergency Response at stephanie.supko@dot.gov or 202-738-2536.

Uncle Sam wants you to wear a mask, and is offering them for free to maritime workers. Friday, June 26, is the final opportunity to submit requests for the free reusable cloth face coverings.

Priority will be given to those that have not yet received masks, but a company that has previously obtained a shipment can request even more. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Maritime Administration request that companies estimate the total number of reusable cloth coverings needed in increments of 500 masks needed and submit your request via this online form.

FEMA and Marad are distributing facial coverings to about 400 maritime transportation entities nationwide for use by essential personnel, including those working at inland ports, major seaports, marine terminals, inland tug and barge lines, vessel pilot groups and dredging operations.

The initiative is part of a broader federal campaign to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

FEMA has reached out to trade associations, including the American Waterways Operators and the American Association of Port Authorities, to help streamline the distribution. AAPA and other organizations advocated for an allocation for essential maritime transportation workers. A total of 2.4 million masks began arriving this week at maritime facilities across the U.S.

The masks are non-medical grade facial coverings, made with anti-bacterial T-shirt material. FEMA says they are suitable for using in situations where social distancing might be difficult, and can be washed and reused.

In early June, AWO said it had alerted its members and received requests for 229,000 masks, which were shipped directly to the requesting company.

Facial coverings in large quantities and other PPE equipment are in short supply on the general market, and these donated masks will help maritime companies supplement what they might already have.

Wearing masks might be inconvenient, hot and sweaty, but they provide another layer of protection from infection and also signal solidarity in the global fight against the deadly coronavirus.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Stephanie Supko, Sealift Operations and Emergency Response, at stephanie.supko@dot.gov or 202-738-2536.

About the author

Pamela Glass

Pamela Glass is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for WorkBoat. She reports on the decisions and deliberations of congressional committees and federal agencies that affect the maritime industry, including the Coast Guard, U.S. Maritime Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to coming to WorkBoat, she covered coastal, oceans and maritime industry news for 15 years for newspapers in coastal areas of Massachusetts and Michigan for Ottaway News Service, a division of the Dow Jones Company. She began her newspaper career at the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times. A native of Massachusetts, she is a 1978 graduate of Wesleyan University (Conn.). She currently resides in Potomac, Md.

3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Pamela Glass on

    Try the phone number listed at the top of the story. If you’re a member, you might also check through the Shipbuilder’s Council of America to see if they have applied for masks for their members.

  2. Avatar
    David Kaufman on

    Hi Pamela –

    WE operate a pumpout boat in Casco Bay, Maine under our non-profit, Friends of Casco Bay. Is there any guidance about pumout boat operations (recreational) as it relates to operators safety with COVID?

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