Naval vessels and aircraft are conducting rescue efforts off Sri Lankan coast after a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) caught fire. The fully loaded vessel, identified as New Diamond, was on its way to Paradip from Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait when the incident took place.
According to Srilankan navy officials, the ship is ablaze about 20 nautical miles off the east coast of the country close to Colombo. “The Sri Lanka air force has scrambled an observation aircraft and the navy has sent in two ships to help with rescue efforts,” Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa of the Sri Lankan navy said.
Various reports claimed that Sri Lanka’s Marine Protection Authority assured steps will be taken to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker which is carrying 270,000 tonnes of oil.
There is yet to be any comments from the part of IOC or Kuwait Petroleum Corp regarding the incident.
Courtesy of cnbctv18.com
Cargo ship with 43 crew and nearly 6,000 cattle sank off Japan, survivor says #Ship #Sinking #Cattle #Japan
A cargo ship carrying 43 crew members and nearly 6,000 cattle sank off the coast of Japan after reportedly losing an engine in rough seas caused by Typhoon Maysak, a survivor has said.
The Filipino crew member, named as Eduardo Sareno, a 45-year-old chief officer, was rescued late on Wednesday after Japanese navy P-3C surveillance aircraft spotted him wearing a life vest and waving while bobbing in the water.
Sareno, who was in good health, told rescuers the ship capsized before sinking, according to Yuichiro Higashi, a spokesman for the Japanese coastguard’s regional headquarters which is conducting the search for survivors with 4 patrol boats, two aeroplanes and divers.
The Panamanian-registered vessel, Gulf Livestock 1, sent the distress call early on Wednesday from the East China Sea, to the west of Amami Ōshima island in south-west Japan, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.
According to Sareno, the ship lost an engine before it was hit by a wave and capsized, a coastguard spokeswoman said. Crew were instructed to put on life jackets as the ship capsized, he said, adding that he had jumped into the water and had not seen any other crew members before he was rescued.
He feared not all were able to hear the instruction to put on life jackets, according to the Department of Labor and Employment in Manila. Sareno is currently in hospital in Japan.
The crew comprises 39 Filipinos, two Australians and two New Zealanders, the Kyodo news agency said.
One of the missing Australians is Lukas Orda, 25, of Queensland, who was working on the live export ship as a veterinarian, a job he had only begun in June after leaving a horse veterinary practice on the Gold Coast.
Michael Lowcock, a Catholic priest from the town of Mount Isa in Queensland, said Orda’s family were “very devastated” by news the ship had sunk. He said Orda, with his wife Emma, had recently had their first child – a son named Theo. Orda’s parents are both well known doctors in their community.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) said it was in touch with the families of the two Australians onboard.
“The Australian government is providing consular assistance to the families of two Australian crew members onboard a cargo vessel reported missing in Japanese waters,” Dfat said.
The cause of the distress was not immediately known, but the weather was rough in the area due to Typhoon Maysak. Strong winds and torrential rain from the typhoon had initially hampered the search operation, but the weather has improved, Higashi said.
The vessel, owned by Gulf Navigation Holding based in the United Arab Emirates, departed Napier in New Zealand on 14 August with 5,867 cattle onboard, New Zealand’s foreign ministry told Reuters.
The vessel was en route to the port of Jingtang in Tangshan, China, with an estimated journey of approximately 17 days, it said.
Australian Associated Press reported the shipment was believed to have been put together by Australasian Global Exports, a Melbourne-based exporter that operates across Australia and New Zealand. The company’s executive director of procurement, Graeme Turner, declined to comment.
The exporter is believed to be responsible for employing stockhandlers and vets, with the shipping company employing the crew.
The New Zealand animal rights organisation Safe said the tragedy demonstrated the risks of the live animal export trade. “These cows should never have been at sea,” said Safe’s campaigns manager, Marianne Macdonald. “This is a real crisis, and our thoughts are with the families of the 43 crew who are missing with the ship. But questions remain, including why this trade is allowed to continue.”
Typhoon Maysak had weakened to a tropical storm as it arrived off the east coast of North Korea on Thursday. North Korean state TV showed flooding along the eastern coast but there were no immediate reports of casualties. The country is vulnerable to natural disasters due to its poor infrastructure, with flooding in deforested mountains and hills a particular concern.
Earlier on Thursday, the typhoon had brought down trees and caused flooding in parts of South Korea, knocking out power to more than 270,000 homes and leaving at least one person dead.
Courtesy of theguardian.com
Dozens of people are missing and feared dead after a ferry in the Solomon Islands set sail despite warnings not to embark during a cyclone.
The MV Taimareho was travelling on Thursday night from the capital Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal, to West Are’are, on Malaita island.
The vessel hit choppy seas whipped up by Cyclone Harold. Up to 60 people are reported to have been on board.
Rescue efforts are under way but have been hampered by the bad weather.
Cyclone Harold has brought flooding and run boats aground in the Solomon Islands.
The country’s national disaster agency has issued several warnings of landslides and rough seas. Travellers are urged to exercise extreme caution.
Emergency officials there are already on high alert over the threat of the coronavirus.
The Solomon Islands is one of a dwindling number of countries not to have reported any cases.
Courtesy of BBC News
21 people test positive on the cruise ship quarantined off California coast, USA #COVID19 #coronavirus #California #USA # #quarantine #epidemic #GrandPrincess
Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday, as half a dozen states reported their first cases of the fast-spreading respiratory disease.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is running the White House’s response to the outbreak, said at a news conference that 19 crew members and two passengers out of 46 people tested so far on the Grand Princess ship had the virus.
He said the vessel with about 3,400 passengers and crew would be taken to a non-commercial port where everyone on board would be tested.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would rather have passengers remain on board the vessel, but that he would let others make the decision whether to let the passengers disembark.
“I’d rather have them stay on, personally, but I fully understand if they want to take them off,” Trump told reporters after touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Courtesy of theguardian.com
Coronavirus crisis: 2,000 passengers TRAPPED as cruise ship quarantined off Greece #COVID19 #coronavirus #Greece #quarantine #MSCOpera
A CRUISE ship with 2,000 passengers on board has been struck by an outbreak coronavirus, with the whole ship quarantined.
The MSC Opera has been forced keep passengers at sea just off the coast of Greece after a tourist tested positive for Covid-19. All passengers were urgently re-called from excursions due to what they were told was a “security problem”. The captain of the ship then notified holidaymakers that a previous passenger onboard has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
In a letter Captain Pietro Esposito said Austrian Health Authorities have notified crew members that a male passenger with Austrian nationality has contracted coronavirus.
The man disembarked the ship in the Italian city of Genoa on Friday February 28.
All passengers and crew member were told to remain on board until further notice.
Captain Esposito confirmed a number of “precautionary and preventative measures” are currently in place.
There is currently “no indication” any other person onboard the ship has contracted the virus.
Captain Esposito said: ”I have just learned – and I wanted you to know straightaway – that we have been contacted by the Austrian Health Authorities who have informed us that a previous passenger who sailed with us last week on MSC Opera, has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“The male passenger, of Austrian nationality, disembarked from MSC Opera in Genoa, Italy, on Friday morning 28 February, and is currently back in Austria.
“We are currently still waiting for further clarity and guidelines from the Austrian Health Authorities and are in touch with the Greek Authorities.
“However, we are proactively taking a number of precautionary and preventative measures to ensure the safety of passengers.
“All passengers and crew are requested to remain on board until we have further clarity on the matter.
“Please note there is no reason for concern.
“We have no indication that suggests there may be an issue currently on board MSC Opera and there are no cases that suggest there may be a case of COVID-19.”
The Austrian passenger had travelled on board the ship across the east mediterranean between February 17-28 before being tested positive for the virus on March 3.
After being alerted by Austrian Health officials the cruiseliner was docked in the port of Piraeus which is located just over five miles from Athens.
Following an assessment by Greek Health officials the ship was allowed to continue onto its next scheduled stop in Corfu.
A spokesman for MSC Cruises said: ”Health Authorities in Austria today informed us that a passenger of Austrian nationality, who had cruised with us on MSC Opera in the East Mediterranean from 17 to 28 February, tested positive yesterday, 3 March, for COVID-19.
“This passenger returned directly to Austria through northern Italy on 28 February immediately after disembarking from his cruise in Genoa, Italy.
“MSC Opera earlier today arrived in Piraeus, Greece, and we promptly informed the Greek Health Authorities about this reported case and asked for their guidelines.
“We requested at the same time that passengers, as a precautionary measure, remained on board while awaiting guidance from the local authorities.
“We shared with the local health authorities the ship’s full medical records as well as the medical and travel history records of the former Austrian passenger.
“The Greek health authorities gave MSC Opera permission around 13:00 CET to sail from Piraeus, Greece, and continue its journey to its next scheduled port in Corfu, Greece.
“No additional health measures were required to be taken and the ship is currently sailing as planned.
“There are no passengers or crew members currently on board the ship who have reported any flu-like symptoms.
“The health and safety of our passengers and crew will always remain our top priority.”
Globally, there are now more than 90,000 cases worldwide, with more than 3,000 deaths.
Today the number of cases in the UK soared by 32 with the total number of confirmed cases now standing at 87.
Courtesy of express.co.uk
Coronavirus: City of San Antonio declares state of emergency #COVID19 #coronavirus #SanAntonio #Texas #USA #emergency #quarantine #epidemic
The city of San Antonio in the US state of Texas has declared a state of emergency, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The city’s mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a public health emergency on Monday afternoon local time to keep more than 120 coronavirus evacuees from a cruise ship quarantined at an airforce base at the outskirts of San Antonio until further notice and forbid the influx of new evacuees.
The cruse ship evacuees were originally to be released Monday.
Courtesy of theguardian.com