Crew member of a ship from Iraq, anchored at Chennai Port, tests positive for COVID-19

A 27-year-old person, a member of a ship’s crew that reached Chennai Port, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The ship, ‘MT Desh Abhimaan’ with an Indian flag, carrying crude oil, left from Basra, Iraq and reached the city on May 3 and was waiting for berthing.

The crew member had joined the ship at the Mumbai Port on November 11 last year, and had been suffering from pain in his right upper abdomen for nearly two months now. Since he was advised further medical assistance for this pain, the crew had requested Chennai Port on May 12 if the treatment can be given at the Port Hospital, officials said.

But since his condition needed additional facilities, he was taken to another Shipping Corporation of India empanelled hospital. Incidentally, at this hospital, he was also tested for COVID-19 in an authorized lab in the city and he tested positive. He was subsequently shifted to a private hospital in Manapakkam, Chennai.

Sources at Chennai Port said contact tracing was done immediately and further investigations are on. “The ship has been completely disinfected and its 26 crew members have been asked to be kept in isolation inside the ship. Their health conditions are monitored daily” an official said.

Now, Chennai Port authorities have been trying to locate the source of the infection and where the crew member acquired it. “If not for his pain, he wouldn’t have disembarked at all. Now, we are strictly keeping a check on everything to ensure no one is at risk,” he added.