Seafarers face increased checks as coronavirus spreads across the world

Seafarers face increased checks as coronavirus spreads across the world

Seafarers who have called in China in recent weeks and are seeking shore leave at ports across much of Asia are coming in for increased scrutiny as the world takes action against the growing spread of a coronavirus originating from the central Chinese province of Hubei.

Quarantine measures have been put in place in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan with other port authorities in Asia and further afield such as the Middle East and Europe expected to follow suit.

In Singapore, one of the world’s largest ports, the local port authority today implemented temperature screening at all its terminals. Similar measures have been put in place at other top Asian ports, such as Busan in South Korea.

In China, ship traffic along the Yangtze has been severely affected by the spread of the virus with reports of operations coming to a standstill at the port of Wuhan, the city where the virus is believed to have originated. Some 25m people in Hubei province have been barred from moving so far this week.

Neighbouring North Korea has blocked all its borders in response to the spiralling health crisis.

In Australia, a spokesperson for the department of agriculture and water resources told Splash today: “Operators of all incoming vessels have an obligation under the Biosecurity Act to notify the Department of Agriculture if any person on board is displaying symptoms which may indicate an infectious disease.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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