Mariners aboard US-flagged containership test positive for coronavirus


(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.) — Several crewmembers aboard the U.S.-flagged containership Maersk Idaho, anchored off the coast of Virginia Beach, have tested positive for the coronavirus, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

For now, the 958-foot Maersk Idaho remains about 10 miles offshore as the shipping company Maersk Line Ltd. works on a plan to evacuate the ship, bring the crew to a quarantine facility, clean the ship and then bring a new crew on board, said Patrick McCaffery, Maersk Line’s general counsel.

One of the ship’s all-American crew fell ill a few days before it arrived in Newark, N.J., on June 19, McCaffery said. The ship has an arrangement with a telemedicine provider, and the crewmember was first diagnosed with pneumonia. But after the ship arrived in Newark, he was taken to a local hospital, where he tested positive for the coronavirus.

That crewmember had not been ashore since getting on the ship in mid-April, according to a statement provided by McCaffery. The ship had just traversed the Atlantic Ocean from Europe.

By the time Maersk was notified of the positive case, Maersk Idaho was en route to Norfolk where, according to the Port of Virginia’s vessel schedule, it was scheduled to load and unload cargo at Virginia International Gateway this weekend.

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By Professional Mariner Staff