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CMA CGM downplays fever reports on ship

French liner operator CMA CGM said that all crew members on one of its container ships are in good health, despite reports to the contrary.

Unverified media reports in Sri Lanka stated that six of the crew on CMA CGM Ural became feverish around 27 January 2020, fuelling concerns of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

The Chinese government is fighting to stem the outbreak, which has spread to the port cities of Tianjin, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The coronavirus has also spread to other Asian, European and North American cities.

AIS data shows CMA CGM Ural, serves the Bhosphorus Express service, and had called at Yangshan near Shanghai on 8 January 2020, before moving to Zhoushan, Xiamen, Shekou in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The 2015-built 10,600 TEU ship is due to arrive in Egypt on 30 January.

Sri Lankan media reported that as CMA CGM Ural sailed close to Galle, the Merchant Shipping Association of Sri Lanka was informed that six of the crew members had become feverish.

However, a spokesperson for CMA CGM told Container News that the Rome-based International Radio Medical Centre, which provides free medical services to seafarers in the midst of navigation, confirmed that the crew on CMA CGM Ural are in good health.

She said: “We are in constant contact with the CMA CGM URAL. All the necessary measures to ensure appropriate medical follow-up have been taken.”

Fearing a repeat of the Sars outbreak in 2003, many ports have begun screening passengers and seafarers for fever and checking their nationalities and travel history.

The Yangshan Maritime Bureau is working to minimise the risk of infections by reducing contact between ship and shore, relaying instructions to arriving and departing ships through radio and phone messages.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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