New Covid 19 Infection Test from Martek Marine

Covid 19 corona virus

Because superyachts are at high risk of COVID 19 infection while they are in port during crew changes, the IMO have issued new guidelines requiring Captains to implement pre-boarding screening of seafarers to help combat the escalating problem.

These guidelines are contained within IMO Circular Letter No.4204/dated 5th March 2020 in which it is stated “All ships are advised to implement pre-boarding screening’

The new guidelines make it mandatory for ships to provide a declaration of health of all crew members, before being allowed to enter port.

Going forward

Going forward, this will mean every vessel’s ship master will be required to relay this information in advance:

Martek Marine, specialists in onboard safety, performance and welfare, have introduced CoronaSafe, a finger prick test that complies with these IMO guidelines.

the new test has proven to be >95% accurate
The new test has proven to be >95% accurate

With results available in 10 minutes the new Covid 19 test has proven to be >95% accurate in a 570 patient clinical trial

From just a single drop of blood, the CoronaSafe finger prick antibody screening test will detect Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies within 5-7 days of infection and is particularly useful to detect infections amongst subjects who show no symptoms and who would otherwise embark on board undetected.

With the first batch of 2,500 tests already spoken for, Martek Marine expect delivery of 50,000 new test kits in about 3 weeks time and are accepting pre orders now for batches of 50 complete testing kits at US$999.00 each (ex works)


A study into the Covid 19 outbreak on the cruise ship Diamond Princess estimated that between 20.6% – 39.9% of cases were asymptomatic, whilst a recent study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that up to four fifths of cases are asymptomatic.

Antibody tests detect the presence of immunoglobulins which are produced by white blood cells as an immune response to viruses.  Immunoglobulin M (IgM) is the first antibody to be made by the body to fight a new infection. IgM rises within the first week of infection after the incubation period and is detectable after 3-5 days. At this time the subject has the disease and is highly infectious. They may or may not be showing symptoms.  The IgG immunoglobulin, which is more abundant appears later, signally that antibodies are present which are responsible for longer term immunity.

a recent study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that up to four fifths of cases are asymptomatic

Martek’s CEO Paul Luen commented: “Screening crew for Covid 19 before boarding is a critical step to prevent avoidable transmission from an asymptomatic crew member. It’s also an important diagnostic tool for re-screening after leaving or if someone shows symptoms. The effect of an outbreak on a ship could be catastrophic in both business and human terms.  No-one wants a medevac, major diversion or let alone a preventable death to deal with, on top of everything else they’ve got on at the moment.”

Major corporations worldwide are rushing to adopt these occupational screening tests to help control the spread of this deadly virus, with demand rising rapidly as the crisis deepens.

Martek, which has limited supply of the tests, are urging shipowners to act quickly to define their policy for crew screening, in order to maintain the health of their employees and ensure continuation of their shipping operations.