Belgium investigating Covid-19 outbreak on Minerva Oceania

The Maritime Services Agency of Belgium (MDK) has submitted a complaint against the captain and the shipping company of chemical/oil products tanker Minerva Oceania (IMO 9380075) which was quarantined in the Leopold dock of Antwerp last week for at least seven days until July 4th after 15 of the 26 crew members of the ship tested positive for Covid-19.

The pilot who guided her into port also tested positive for the disease on Friday, while a second pilot who was aboard the ship has tested negative.

An MDK spokesman was reported as telling local media that “we are asking serious questions about how the situation has gone and about the number of infections”, adding that “we doubt that the captain’s health declaration has been completed in good faith.”

The Flemish pilots’ association also expressed concern about the risk to its members and the timeliness of the notification of an onboard outbreak.

Minerva spokesperson  Cor Radings said that the captain made a report as soon as the symptoms of Covid-19 appeared, which was the day after the vessel arrived in port and the pilots disembarked. He added that Saniport, the sanitary police for international traffic, also considered it a timely report.

“We have taken note of the complaint and respect the decision of MDK. We hope that everyone with health problems, both our own crew and the pilot, will recover soon,” a spokesperson for the operator said.

Minerva Oceania arrived in Antwerp on June 19th after a month-long journey from Ras Laffan in Qatar.

Two of the crew members who tested positive were in hospital, but their condition was not serious, a port spokesperson said. The remainder of the crew were remaining on board. Those with Covid-19 are self-isolating in separate cabins.

The oil products tanker had arrived in Antwerp on June 19th

2009-built, Malta-flagged, 26,934 gt Minerva Oceania is owned by Express Shipmanagement Corp care of manager Minerva Marine Inc of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Standard Club (European division) on behalf of Express Shipmanagement Corp.