M/V Ital Libera. File Photo: Ital Libera

Force Majeure Declared: COVID-Hit ‘Ital Libera’ Returning to Italy with Body of Deceased Captain

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 20212
June 8, 2021

The Italian-flagged containership Ital Libera is sailing back to Italy to repatriate the body of its deceased captain who apparently passed away from COVID-19 and was denied entry into Asia.

The M/V Ital Libera is deployed on the Far East To South Africa Express (SA1) connecting ports in China and Taiwan with South Africa via Singapore. A May 6 update from Hapag-Lloyd said crew members on board tested positive for COVID-19 upon a recent departure from Durban and the vessel was diverted to the Port of Jakarta to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Hapag-Lloyd now informs that it has received word from its partner Evergreen that the Captain died on board and force majeure has been declared in order to repatriate the body to Italy after the ship was denied access to Asian ports.

“We have received further news form our partner Evergreen, and much to our regret, we must inform you that the captain of MV ITAL LIBERA unfortunately passed away on the vessel. Hapag-Lloyd expresses our condolences to the captain’s family. Force majeure has been declared and due to no Asian ports accepting the vessel, she has been diverted to call Italy first in order to repatriate the captain,” the company said in a June 7 update on the situation.

While details of the captain’s death are not immediately clear, reporting in Italian media indicates that the captain, identified as 61-year-old Angelo Capurro, is believed to have died as early as April 13, meaning it’s been nearly two months since his death.

The Ital Libera is 2007-built post-panamax containership registered in Italy. AIS shows vessel is currently underway in the Red Sea headed for the Suez Canal.

Hapag-Lloyd says the Ital Libera is eventually expected to return to the rotation in the Far East service, however arrival and cargo delivery dates are still to be determined.

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