Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for SIO Research Vessels

Updated: Tuesday 13 July 2021

Operational Status: Research Vessels

The US Academic Research Fleet resumed seagoing operations on 01 July 2020 following a stand-down that began 17 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we ramp back up to shipboard research, we are taking steps to help promote the health and safety of all embarked personnel and shoreside support staff.  To do so, we have developed an approach guided by UC San Diego's infectious disease experts and epidemiologists as well as the World Health Organization, the CDC, state and local public health experts, and in accordance with guidelines established by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS).

Project-specific risk assessment process

Each planned research mission will undergo a risk assessment involving the SIO Marine Superintendent, the vessel Master, and the Chief Scientist.  The process and considerations are described here:

Shipboard preparedness

We have developed protocols for in-port and underway operations for research vessels that

  • Define practices in an effort to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 being spread aboard a ship
  • Describe how to immediately respond to a suspected case of COVID-19 on board.

Our approach includes quarantine or testing requirements for embarking personnel, shipboard disease transmission prevention, infection control, and patient treatment.  These instructions are described here:

Risk awareness

Some underlying health conditions may increase the risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19.  To ensure that people who are considering embarking aboard a research vessel understand this risk, we require that all read, sign and return an acknowledgement to the SIO Marine Superintendent prior to sailing.

COVID-19 VACCINES ARE strongly recommended

Information about COVID-19 vaccinations are online at

FLU shots are required

Consistent with a University of California systemwide executive order (PDF), all members of the UC community must receive a seasonal influenza immunization.  This requirement extends to all scientists, technicians and mariners embarking aboard Scripps-operated research vessels. 

Contact your individual health care provider for availability and instructions on getting immunized to protect yourself from seasonal flu.

Vessel / facility access

  • Only persons conducting essential operational, technical or scientific work may come aboard
  • Appropriate mitigation steps must be taken. The mitigation steps vary depending whether a visitor is vaccinated or unvaccinated.
  • Vessel access is regulated according to our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (linked above).

Cruise planning meetings

  • Will be held by teleconference only (not in-person).
  • Requests to visit MarFac and the ships will be considered by the Marine Superintendent based on scientific or operational necessity.

Travel (for SOMTS employees)

  • Travel is restricted to essential activities. Seek alternatives such as virtual meetings or conference calls.
  • Travel by mariners and marine technicians to ships and work assignments is essential to operations, and may be authorized by SOMTS supervisors.
  • Use Connexxus to arrange travel. If you do not use Connexxus, register your trip with UC Away.
  • Follow SOMTS and UC San Diego campus policy on travel.

Please do your part -- follow campus guidance

UC San Diego Guidance