Transnet National Port Authority has confirmed that 14 crew members of a cargo bulk carrier that sailed to Durban from India have tested positive for COVID-19.

The TNPA added that the chief engineer of the Eaubonne vessel died from a heart attack on Sunday, 2 May, the day it arrived at the Port of Durban.

Vessel from India now docked at Durban harbour

The vessel is under lockdown at the Port of Durban and crew members are in quarantine. The cargo ship sailed from the Kandla port of India on 18 April 2021.

“As a requirement for the next port of call all crew members of the vessel were tested for Covid-19 and cleared. 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,” TNPA said in a statement on Tuesday evening, 4 May 2021.

“The entire vessel is currently under quarantine at the Port of Durban, as per COVID-19 regulations. As part of the COVID-19 protocols, the crew contact tracking and tracing is being undertaken”

Transnet National Port Authority

In another incident, 14 crew members on board a ship which had travelled from Mombasa, Kenya to Gqeberha, have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Upon testing positive for Covid-19, these crew members were subsequently isolated at paid lodgings. Port health, together with Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA), instructed the shipping agency to proceed with contact tracing and testing processes, with 20 crew members on board subjected to PCR tests. A further 10 crew have been detected with Covid-19 and are isolating for 10 days at designated facilities. The other 10 members that tested negative will remain in quarantine on the ship,” Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.

India is fast becoming the global epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic with 20 million cases and counting. Many of the infections have been largely driven by the B.1.617 variant of the virus, which is dominant in that country.

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Presh JM Reporter

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