Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

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

Updated: Wednesday 10 June 2020

Resumption of seagoing operations

The US Academic Research Fleet has targeted 01 July for resumption of seagoing operations. Our goal is to enable a return to shipboard research while 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:

COVID-19 Risk Assessment Process

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:

COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (v08 11 June 2020)

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 Risk Factors and Acknowledgement

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for a list of questions and answers regarding our risk assessment process, our pre-embarkation process, and our preparedness plan


Operational status: Temporary stand-down of US Academic Research Fleet until 01 July 2020

In coordination with Federal sponsors, research vessels in the US Academic Research Fleet (ARF) will stand down from seagoing operations until 01 July 2020.  This is an extension of the original thirty-day stand-down). In consultation with the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), Scripps will monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic to evaluate when and how to resume service. The latest UNOLS announcement is online here.

  • Scripps-operated research vessels Sally Ride and Robert Gordon Sproul will be directly impacted by this stand down.
  • SIO is working with Principal Investigators to evaluate the impacts of a stand-down on their projects, and rescheduling their cruises to later dates.
  • Revisions to the seagoing schedule will be reflected in UNOLS ship schedules, and the Scripps portal.
  • Marine technical support activities have been modified to incorporate work-at-home and social distancing protocols.

Operational status: Nimitz Marine Facility

The State of California has issued a statewide stay-at-home order

The Nimitz Marine Facility is at reduced staffing levels (described below) with only essential personnel necessary to maintain safety, security and continuity of critical operations. 

For campus information and guidelines, please refer to UC San Diego COVID-19 information for the University community.

Vessel / facility access

Effective 11 March 2020 through 01 July 2020

Only essential activities are allowed. 

  • No tours, guests, or social events on board or on site.
  • Only mariners, technicians, shore support personnel permitted.
  • Contractors doing essential business may be granted permission on case-by-case basis by Marine Superintendent.
  • Other exceptions require permission of Marine Superintendent, and will be based on scientific or operational necessity.

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 -- keep yourself and others healthy by following campus guidance:

UC San Diego Guidance | Campus Status | COVID-19 Prevention | Travel - UCSD Guidelines | Campus Notices & Updates