North P&I Club has developed its MyGlobeView platform so that it can provide live updates as to the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, countries at risk and what to look out for.

North P&I Club said that the updated platform – an interactive map which members can use to identify commercial risks and physical threats to shipping around the world – will help shipowners and operators track the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The software, which sources its data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other leading sources, can assist ships with chartering and operations, as well as help prepare staff for what to expect when arriving in port.

Simon MacLeod, North P&I Club deputy director – loss prevention, said: “We are committed to ensuring that our shipowner members have easy access to up-to-date advice and guidance to operate safely. So, we take outbreaks like the coronavirus very seriously and have acted quickly to release this latest update to our MyGlobeView platform.

“As well as receiving information from the WHO, John Hopkins University and other organisations tracking the virus, we also have a huge network of contacts in ports across the world, who are updating us with local information as the infection spreads. This means the software is as up to date and informative as possible.”

The novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, has so far seen more than 20,000 people infected across Asia, Europe and North America.

Last week, maritime law firm Hill Dickinson warned that the shipping industry needs to be prepared for potential restrictions in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Beth Bradley, a partner at Hill Dickinson, said: “While this outbreak is not currently anticipated to cause the global complications experienced by the Ebola and Sars outbreaks, it is wise for ship operators and charterers to be prepared for any greater spread of this virus.”

Issues arising from potential escalation can include infection of crew members, quarantine measures, closure of ports, and possible repercussions on charter party obligations.

As a consequence of the spread of the coronavirus, BIMCO has restricted its staff from travelling to the Far East and excluded anyone from personally attending any BIMCO training course, subcommittee meeting or working group who has been to China in the 14 days prior to the planned event.

The planned Breakbulk Asia exhibition, meanwhile, is scheduled to go ahead as planned from March 18-19 in Shanghai.

In a statement on its website, Breakbulk Asia said: “We are closely following and regularly monitoring the advice from the WHO as well as regional and local government advice. We continue to assess the situation closely and are working in tandem with our teams globally. Breakbulk Asia is scheduled to go ahead as planned and we will provide any further updates as necessary.”