Vuoraari Harbour seen from air. Archival photo.

11 coronavirus infections on the Valencia Express cargo ship

11 crew members of the Valencia Express cargo ship, which arrived from Saint Petersburg to Vuosaari Harbour on 30 April, have been found to be infected with the coronavirus. All those infected have been isolated while those exposed have been quarantined onboard the ship. A coronavirus test was conducted on all crew members on Sunday 2 May.

One crew member of the cargo ship fell ill in Saint Petersburg. All crew members were tested for COVID-19 in Saint Petersburg. At the time, four crew members were found to be infected in addition to the one already ill.

The cargo ship originating from Saint Petersburg arrived at Vuosaari Harbour in the afternoon on 30 April. A Maritime Declaration of Health was issued in accordance with the applicable guidelines before the ship’s entry into port. Helsink’s epidemiological operations unit was notified of the ship’s arrival and the fact that there were coronavirus carriers onboard. The ship has 24 crew members.

“Initially, we checked the condition of those who had fallen ill. After this, we placed those infected in isolation and those exposed in quarantine onboard the ship. The isolation and quarantine arrangements can be implemented onboard as all crew members have their own cabin,” says Sanna Isosomppi, Chief Physician of Epidemiological Operations.

“We tested all crew members for COVID-19 again on Sunday 2 May. This round of testing found seven new infections in addition to the four earlier ones. One crew member is in hospital care in Helsinki,” Isosomppi adds.

In cooperation with its international interest groups in the maritime sector, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has prepared the instruction document Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers as well as guidelines for safe interaction between seafarers and ground staff.

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has prepared Guidelines for Cargo Ships Regarding Suspected Cases of Coronavirus.

These instructions are also being observed on the Valencia Express cargo ship.

Photo: Port of Helsinki image archive / Suomen Ilmakuva Oy