Transnet National Ports Authority has confirmed that 14 crew members of a vessel, the Eaubonne, which is currently docked at the Port of Durban after sailing from India, have tested positive for Covid-19.
This after the vessel’s chief engineer died due to a heart attack.
“Upon arrival at the Port of Durban, as a standard precautionary measure, all crew members were tested and 14 of the crew tested positive for Covid-19.
“The entire vessel is currently in quarantine at the Port of Durban, as per Covid-19 regulations. As part of Covid-19 protocols, the crew contact tracking and tracing is being undertaken,” Transnet said in a statement.
The Filipino-crewed vessel docked in Durban on Sunday after a 17-day voyage from India and it is under lockdown. Port Health assigned a team to go on board and check on the crew members, according to Transnet.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday noted the concern around Covid-19 cases at South Africa’s ports of entry and the “possible recent importation of variants”.
“Our teams remain on high alert to survey, detect and contain spread of Covid-19 in general, with heightened awareness of travellers from countries where VOCs [variants of concern] are dominating.
“We confirm that the B.1.617 variant, circulating widely in India, has not been detected, however the genomics teams are working on some samples and we will need to allow the time it takes to sequence before we get an answer,” Mkhize said.
On Monday, Netcare revealed that a person who travelled from India had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus in Durban.
However, health teams were still testing whether the person had been infected with the virus variant currently spreading in India.
Mkhize also revealed that 14 crew members of a vessel docked in Gqebherha were currently in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 last week.
“On 25 April 2021 a vessel that had departed from Mombasa, Kenya, berthed in Gqeberha some 12 days after departure.
“The following day the shipmaster reported an ill crew member, who was immediately transferred out of the ship to a health care facility. The ill crew member together with three other crew members who were due to depart by air to their home country were immediately subjected to PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests on the 26 April 2021.
“A further ten crew members have been detected with Covid- 19 and are isolating for 10 days at designated facilities,” Mkhize said.
The minister stated that this ship was bound for India and had not departed from the subcontinent.