Hapag-Lloyd vessel quarantined in Durban for COVID-19

Durban Port. Credit: Transnet

A Hapag-Lloyd container ship has been detained in the port of Durban after two crew members tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to a statement issued by the shipping line, local authorities have ordered the 2,824 teu Montpellier to remain at anchorage and all cargo operations suspended for 14 days.

Montpellier arrived in Durban on 13 May from the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, as part of Hapag-Lloyd’s Middle East-India-Africa Express service. The shipping line said it has adjusted the schedule to accommodate the disruption in the service caused by the Montpellier’s detention.

This is not the first time a vessel has been denied entry to Durban harbour due to COVID-19. Earlier in May, local authorities called on the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to transport a doctor to a bulk carrier to take sample swabs from a crew, prior to permitting the vessel to enter the port.

NSRI Durban station commander Jonathan Kellerman said all COVID-19 protocols were observed in the operation, and the doctor and the swabs were safely returned to port.

“Port health authorities will evaluate the samples to determine safe passage for the ship to enter port,” said Kellerman in a statement.

There is no information available regarding the results of the test on the seamen or whether the vessel was allowed to enter the port.