Virus Fears Prompt Scrutiny of Vessels Shipping From China
(Bloomberg) -- Vessels and trains coming from China are in focus as nations take steps to halt the spread of a deadly coronavirus that originated in the world’s second-biggest economy. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest efforts by authorities globally, including quarantines and checks.
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Authorities are requiring advance copy of medical reports for all vessels arriving directly from China or any vessels that called in the Asian nation, according to NABSA shipping agency. The reports must include data on body temperature of each crew member.
Enhanced screening measures will apply to vessels that left China from Feb. 1, with the first ship to meet that criteria expected as soon as Feb. 10. The government is continuing to consult with port authorities and industry groups on the development and implementation of those measures. Foreign nationals who were in mainland China on or after Feb. 1 won’t be allowed to enter Australia until 14 days after they left or transited China, although limited exemptions exist for maritime crew, according to Australian Border Force.
The restrictions mean that the 14-day period starts when the ship departs China and will be restarted for a further 14 days if any illness is reported, private shipping and logistics agency Gulf Agency Co. said Wednesday.
Queensland state’s maritime safety body has already intensified checks on incoming foreign vessels, which are required to report if any crew member or passenger has visited mainland China since Feb. 1 or Hubei province in the past 14 days. They must also disclose if anyone shows coronavirus symptoms.
Miner Fortescue Metals Group said vessels loading at its facilities in Port Hedland are scheduled to berth at least 14 days after departing mainland China, adding that iron ore is being delivered as planned.
Maritime agents must notify port authorities in Paranagua and Antonina, of ships arriving from regions dealing with epidemics, which are not allowed to arrive less than 21 days since leaving the previous port, according to a statement from the ports.
At least 12 major ports are screening ships and crew members arriving from China, Hong Kong and Singapore. At least 31 vessels and 1,045 crew have been examined since Jan. 27.
Vessels that have visited China during their last 10 port stops will be thoroughly inspected by the Port Health Authority, according to Indonesia’s Directorate General of Sea Transportation. Anyone suspected of being infected with the virus must be treated by authorities. Animal inspections will also be carried out.
While Indonesia scrapped a plan to ban Chinese food imports to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after Beijing warned of the “negative impact” of such measures on investment and the economy, it will no longer accept live animals from the Asian county.
Any non-Japanese crew who visited China’s Hubei province within the last two weeks, or people with passports issued from the Chinese province, aren’t allowed to enter Japan.
The Philippine Ports Authority said workers in ships coming from China are prohibited from disembarking to prevent the spread of the virus.
Vessels that have traveled to China in the past 14 days must submit a health declaration form and other documents 24 hours before berthing, according to a Feb. 1 notice from the Maritime and Port Authority.
Any vessel that visited China within the last 14 days will be inspected by officials from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agency before they enter ports to check the crew, according to an official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The vessels can only enter South Korean ports if the inspectors find no sign of infection and give them the all-clear.
Thailand has set up a checkpoint in the Samut Prakan province where 20 to 30 officials from the Port Authority of Thailand and the Disease Control Department will screen all crews on vessels coming from China before they can moor at the Bangkok port. If any ship is found to have sick crew, it will be quarantined. The measures are also being applied for the country’s northern ports.
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