While operations are continuing in Brazil’s busy seaport of
Santos, local officials are working hard to control the spread of the
coronavirus as the country battles the disease. Reports surfaced this week that
additional cargo ships have been placed in quarantine in the port where several
cruise ships also remain at anchor.
In recent days, with the infection rate rising, the country
of Brazil has been identified as one of the hot spots for the virus in South
America. According to the World Health Organization, Brazil currently has over
175,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12,400 deaths from the disease.
The main port for shipping Brazil’s agricultural exports,
Santos is a vital part of the country’s economy. The port is busy with record
levels of exports of soybeans, sugar, coffee, and other agricultural products.
The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) is
overseeing all the efforts, monitoring the movements of ships and crews
requiring reporting of all health issues. They have been overseeing COVID-19
testing and the implementation of quarantines.
This week, the 5300 TEU container ship Barbara was one of
the vessels with positive cases of COVID-19 required to undergo quarantine in
the Santos anchorage. The MSC Giselle, a 9400 TEU container ship is also in the
Santos anchorage with its crew undergoing testing. Other vessel have recently
completed their quarantine stays at the port.
Santos made news earlier in the spring with a number of
cruise ships arriving in its port. The Costa Fascinosa was at the center of a
controversy when more than 60 members of her crew came down with the virus
after the ship had disembarked the passengers from its canceled cruises.
A local court initially ordered all of her crew to stay on
the Costa Fascinosa, while she was placed in quarantine at the port of Santos.
Costa Cruises, operator of the Fascinosa, was later able to make arrangements
to begin repatriating her crew. However, the ship’s doctor died after being
transferred to shore for medical treatment in Santos, Brazil. The ship remains
in the anchorage at Santos with the reparation efforts continuing for her crew.
MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaview has a similar situation with
reports of more than 80 of her crew members testing positive for the virus. The
crew has remained aboard the ship in the Santos anchorage along with the MSC
Musica, which was recently released from quarantine, and the MSC Poesia, which
was idled at the port after her cruises were canceled in March.
As the virus has spread across Brazil, efforts are underway
in the port to maintain operations by increasing safeguards through efforts
such as social distancing.