Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
The bulk carrier Eaubonne (former name GH Storm Cat) is now (4 May) under quarantine in Durban harbour. On the same day that the South African government issued a statement saying that the ports were on high alert for the Indian variant of the Coronavirus (B.1.617) that has emerged in devastating numbers in India, it was learnt that a ship that arrived on Sunday night, 2 May, has been placed under quarantine after the discovery that a crew member had died en route. Another 14 crew have since been taken for testing for Covid-19.
‘All our ports of entry employ stringent containment procedures to minimise the importation of COVID-19,’ said Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize in the statement issued on 4 May 2021.
The ship Eaubonne (IMO 9663104), sailed from the port of Kandla in India on 18 April on a 14-day voyage to Durban, where she arrived off port on 1 May, prior to entering port and berthing at Maydon Wharf 2 on 2 May at 2000.
During the voyage one of the crew members passed away and authorities in Durban were advised that he died of a heart attack.
The ship was carrying a cargo of 6,250 tons of rice to be discharged in Durban.
However, on 4 May dock workers and others working on the ship were told to stop all operations and that the vessel was under quarantine. Fourteen of the crew were taken for COVID-19 testing but the real worry is that a large number of dockworkers had already been exposed to the crew.
It was suggested that as many as several hundred dock workers and others might have been on the ship since Sunday.
‘All our ports of entry employ stringent containment procedures to minimise the importation of COVID-19,’ said Dr Mkhize, indicating a concern that a new variant of the virus might slip through.
He said while the variant was yet to be detected in South Africa, members of the genomics team had informed government that they had intensified surveillance to not only ensure detection of the virus but to also understand its implications.
This comes as India has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases attributed in part to the circulation of different variants, including the B.1.617 Coronavirus variant.
Michelle Groome, Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said testing of COVID-19 positive samples from travellers entering South Africa from India and their close contacts will be prioritised: ‘This will enable us to detect the B.1.617 and any other variants in a timely manner.’
Despite the Health Minister giving his reassurances that there were currently no direct flights from India, it would appear that seaports are lower on government’s
The ship is a bulk carrier of 63,308-dwt and has an overall length of 200 metres and a width of 32m.
Eaubonne is owned by Danish interests, operating with the name GH Storm Cat LLC which minus the LLC was also the name of the ship between 2016 and February this year when she was renamed Eaubonne. The ship and commercial manager is Celsius Shipping ApS of Hellerup in Denmark.
Registered in the Marshall islands, the vessel was built seven years ago in 2014.
This article was first published on 4 May 2021 in Africa Ports & Ships (www.africaports.co.za ) and appears here by kind permission of the Editor
Early in June the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) announced the publication of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance, Fourth Edition
This Guidance has been produced by the ICS to help shipping companies and seafarers follow health advice provided by UN agencies and others in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), under the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR).
It is understood that this Guidance is for use on all types of ship and attempts to take into account the needs of both cargo and passenger ships. It is recognised that cargo ships are unlikely to have a fully trained doctor or nurse on board and that medical treatment on cargo ships will be provided by a crew member with training to Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) medical requirements.
This fourth edition replaces the ICS guidance published in September 2020 and should be read in conjunction with the three Covid-19 guidance documents published by ICS in 2021.
The G7 Summit will take place in Carbis Bay, North Cornwall, in England’s SW from 11 to 13 June.
Leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US will attend the Summit alongside the EU and European Commission Presidents.
Guest nations attend
On 12 June they will be joined by leaders from Australia, South Africa, Republic of Korea and the UN Secretary General. Leaders of international organisations and the Indian Prime Minister will also attend the Summit virtually from that day.
It is reported that Prime Minister Johnston will use Summit in Cornwall next week to ask world leaders to come together to end the coronavirus pandemic