COVID-19 confirmed on Gjertrud Maersk

The Gjertrud Maersk has become what is believed to be the first container ship in the world reported to carry the coronavirus.

Seven crew members were evacuated from the vessel in Ningbo, China, on Thursday.

“One of the seafarers has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and four seafarers are asymptomatic infected individuals. The other two tested negative. The hospitalized seafarers are all in stable condition,” Christian Kjærgaard-Winther, Maersk senior press officer in Denmark, told American Shipper on Monday.

“We can confirm that during the past week, several seafarers on board the container vessel Gjertrud Maersk were feeling unwell,” Kjærgaard-Winther said. “As per our established protocols, the seafarers were isolated on the vessel when symptoms appeared and we are providing medical treatment based on input from our medical advisers.”

He did not respond to a request for the number of crew members remaining on board the Gjertrud who may be under quarantine.

The Danish-flagged Gjertrud has a capacity of 9,074 twenty-foot equivalent units. Kjærgaard-Winther said the container ship was being phased into the Maersk network and was idle in Ningbo.

“Extra precaution measures will be taken for crew replacement and sanitation will be implemented,” he said.

Maersk said on March 17 that “with the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extraordinarily fast-paced closing of borders and cancellations of airline services,” it was immediately suspending all crew changes on its container ships until April 14 in order to “keep our crew safe while maintaining operations as normal as possible.”