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

Updated: Wednesday 03 August 2022

Research Vessel Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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. To promote the health and safety of all embarked personnel and shoreside support staff, we have developed an adaptive approach, guided by medical advisors at UC San Diego Health, in compliance with federal, state and local requirements, and in accordance with recommendations by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS).

Project-specific risk assessment process

Offshore research missions will undergo a risk assessment in compliance with federal directives and in accordance with UNOLS guidance. Risk assessments typically involve the SIO Marine Superintendent, the vessel Master, and the Chief Scientist.  UNOLS considerations are described here: 

Our approach involves monitoring the COVID-19 levels in the ports our ships are visiting, while taking into consideration the circumstances of the upcoming seagoing mission. We then scope our pre-embarkation and operational requirements accordingly.  

A key element to our approach is that all persons on board are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Mask-wearing and COVID-19 testing will remain important tools, and will be used as circumstances require. 

COVID-19 VACCINES and boosters are required

The University of California requires all persons to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before physically accessing University locations (including marine facilities and research vessels). Details of the University's vaccination policy are available at UC San Diego Return To Learn.