Covid-19: Cargo ship from India quarantined in Durban port after 14 crew test positive

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Members of a cargo vessel from India have tested positive for Covid-19.
Members of a cargo vessel from India have tested positive for Covid-19.
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  • A cargo ship travelling from India has been quarantined after 14 crew tested positive for Covid-19 at the port of Durban. 
  • In Gqeberha, a cargo vessel from Mombasa, which was destined for India has also been placed under quarantine after some crew tested positive. 
  • The vessel master of the ship in Gqeberha could be facing criminal charges after allegedly failing to disclose that a crew member was ill. 

A bulk carrier cargo vessel from India is being quarantined at the port of Durban after 14 crew members tested positive for Covid-19, while another vessel from Kenya is under quarantine at the port of Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, for the same reason. 

"Upon arrival at the Port of Durban, as a standard precautionary measure, all crew members on board the vessel were tested. Fourteen of the crew members tested positive," Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said in a statement.

"The entire vessel is currently in quarantine at the Port of Durban as per Covid-19 Regulations. Contact tracking and tracing is being undertaken."

TNPA retracted its initial statement in which it said the vessel had arrived after completing a 17-day direct sail from India.

READ | Covid-19: SA does not have the B.1.617 variant - Mkhize

The MarineTraffic site reflects that the vessel departed from the Kandla port of India on 18 April.

TNPA also retracted its initial statement that the vessel's chief engineer had died of a heart attack, instead stating the vessel was under investigation.

"TNPA continues to remain vigilant, to ensure that all vessels calling at the port have been cleared, and will work with all relevant authorities in this regard."


Meanwhile, at the port of Gqeberha, 14 crew members tested positive for Covid-19, and a vessel master could be facing criminal charges after allegedly failing to disclose that a crew member was ill. 

The M/V Consolidator vessel docked at the harbour in Gqeberha on 25 April after leaving Mombasa, Kenya. According to port health authorities, the vessel's master had declared no illness on board before they granted it entrance. 

"One day after the vessel berthed, Port Health was contacted by TNPA Deputy Harbour Master informing Port Health that he had received information that there is an ill crewman on board the vessel and that the Master was withholding this vital information from the relevant stakeholders of which Port Health was the lead authority," Port Health stated in their incident report. 

READ | Person who travelled from India to SA positive for Covid-19

The crewman was taken to the St Georges Hospital trauma unit and was subjected to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which came back positive for Covid-19, after which he was moved to a guesthouse for isolation. After his positive result, three people who worked closely with him also tested positive.

All four were scheduled to sign off from the vessel on 27 April and board international flights back home. 

"Ten crew, including one of the on-signers from the Ukraine, all tested positive for Covid-19, leaving the vessel with only 10 crew who in essence are in quarantine. The 10 crew who tested positive will be transported to an isolation facility identified by the District Health," said Port Health. 

The vessel has since been sanitised and, of the 22 crewmen who signed onto the vessel at the port, 17 had tested negative, while results for the remaining five were still pending.

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