The small Mediterranean island nation of Malta has rejected a cargo ship from entering its ports over fears that a sick crewmember onboard could have the Ebola Virus Disease.
According to a Report from Reuters, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Maltese officials on Thursday refused entry of the Hong Kong-flagged MV Western Copenhagen, which was sailing from Guinea to the Ukraine and had stopped in Malta to seek medical treatment for the sick crewmember. The vessel, with 21 persons on board, is now believed to be sailing close to Sicily, possibly towards Italy, the report said.
The incident is the latest scare involving a commercial ship sailing from West Africa with a crewmember who is showing symptoms similar to the early stages of Ebola.
On Wednesday, health officials in the U.S. transported at least one sick crewmember from a Liberian-flagged cargo ship to a local hospital near New Orleans for evaluation because the vessel’s itinerary included a recent call at the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s port of Matadi. As it turns out, the crewmember was diagnosed with malaria, most likely from a recent stopover in Panama.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the current Ebola outbreak has already been blamed for 2,630, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Reuters reports.
So far, no one from any commercial vessel has been confirmed to have the disease.