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Coronavirus: Foreign sailors aboard cargo vessel quarantined off West Sulawesi coast

Coronavirus: Foreign sailors aboard cargo vessel quarantined off West Sulawesi coast
February 20, 2020

Forty foreign crew members aboard a vessel that had been scheduled to transport palm oil from Pasangkayu, West Sulawesi, have been quarantined inside the ship off the coast of the province over fears of China's deadly coronavirus.

Tanjung Bakau Port head in Pasangkayu, Agung, said the quarantine procedure commenced on Tuesday.

The vessel had since been ordered to maintain its position at least 1 kilometer from the port as it awaited the arrival of a medical team that would examine its crew members for any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease brought on by the fast-spreading virus, he said.

The foreign vessel is not allowed to moor at Tanjung Bakau Port until after the quarantine has ended and once the crew members are declared free of the deadly virus.

“All foreign vessels are not allowed to immediately moor at the port until after they’ve been declared free of the coronavirus. Even if a ship is indeed considered free of the virus, none of its crew members are allowed to disembark,” Agung said on Thursday as quoted by

The port management would provide the foreign crew members with logistical support during the quarantine period, he said.

Indonesia previously raised concerns over coronavirus transmission from foreign transportation, with port authorities putting in force stricter measures to reduce the risk of the virus by screening foreign vessels and ships seeking to dock in ports across the archipelago.

The move followed Japan's decision to quarantine the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship and its roughly 3,700 passengers in Yokohama for two weeks. After having begun on Feb. 4, the quarantine ended Wednesday, with more than 600 people, including four Indonesian crew members, testing positive for COVID-19.

Since it first emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, COVID-19 has killed more than 2,000 people worldwide, including at least eight deaths outside mainland China. The virus has spread to nearly 30 countries, with more than 70,000 people infected globally. (rfa)