Crew changes executed on Chinese bulker

Port of Nantong, China. Credit: Olaf Schmidt

Chinese-owned ship Spring Melody carried out crew changes in the Port of Nantong on 23 March 2020, marking the first of such moves since the Chinese transport ministry announced measures to prevent the entry of imported coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections.

Spring Melody, a 2014-built 63,233 dwt Ultramax bulk carrier, had carried chromium ore from South Africa to Tianjin, China, stopping en route in Singapore for refueling.

Spring Melody then moved to Nantong for 10 Chinese crew to disembark.

The Nantong branch of China’s Maritime Safety Administration, as well as local customs, quarantine, and infections disease prevention officials, were involved in facilitating the process.

The 10 seafarers took swab tests that showed they tested negative for COVID-19.

Although the seafarers’ swab tests were negative, they still have to undergo a 14-day quarantine, as they had been at sea for more than 14 days before arriving in China.

Meanwhile, bitumen tanker Harapan Baru has been prevented from discharging its cargoes in Samarinda in Indonesia’s Kalimantan.

Owned by May Tanker of Malaysia, Harapan Baru appears to have loaded bitumen from Pulau Bukom, Singapore, on 3 March, arriving in Pare Pare Dry Terminal, Indonesia, on 8 March.

However, Harapan Baru remains anchored at Pare Pare port, as worried locals have demanded the vessel to depart, fearing it may be tainted with the COVID-19 virus. Indonesia is one of the hardest hit in Southeast Asia, with nearly 600 infections and 49 deaths from COVID-19.