Hapag-Lloyd Diverts Vessel to Evacuate Coronavirus Infected Crew

German container giant Hapag-Lloyd has said that they diverted their vessel, MV Rome Express to Ensenada, Mexico to evacuate three crew members infected with the coronavirus. It was reported that a total of 5 crew members are affected with coronavirus and the vessel has evacuated three of them after making an exceptional call at Ensenada, Mexico whereas the remaining two crew members are placed under quarantine on the ship.

Hapag-Lloyd has notified its customers that due to these unprecedented circumstances, their shipments could be delayed. In its statement, the company has said that the vessel will remain at the port until the replacement crew is tested and cleared to board the ship. The 12,552 TEU MV Rome Express was coming from Cartagena, Columbia, and headed to Busan, South Korea via Panama Canal. The vessel calls at South Carolina, Savannah, Virginia, New York-New Jersey, North Carolina, Wilmington, and Georgia.

Covid-19 has thrown new challenges at the maritime industry. Crew change in specific has become one of the most challenging jobs for ship management companies. Countries around the world have restricted flights and imposed quarantine rules which has made crew movement and exchange very difficult. Offering medical assistance to the crew onboard is another major challenge for the ship management agencies as it is not always possible to divert ships due to the position of the vessel. The case of the cruise ship Diamond Princess is well known to all where the vessel struggled to get assistance due to local regulations and protocols.

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