A Guyanese crewman died onboard a vessel en route to St Lucia, another is hospitalized and eight others have been quarantined as medical personnel from both countries try to determine the source of the illness.
According to the St Lucia Star, the crewman died on Saturday while at sea and the preliminary cause of death has been given as bronchopneumonia. The name of the dead crew member has not been released.
The Maritime Adminis-tration Department (MARAD) here yesterday issued a release which stated that the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-registered ship ‘Lady Zai’ left for St Lucia last Thursday with a ten-man crew laden with bulk cargo.
“When the vessel arrived in St Lucia on Sunday March 8, 2014 a crew member had already died and another was ill,” the release stated.
Before the ship arrived, St Lucia’s port health officials were informed of the situation and when the vessel docked, an emergency autopsy was performed and the sick man was taken to a hospital. He is currently being treated while his other eight crew have been quarantined.
MARAD said that the usual precautionary method was implemented to protect the local population from contracting any possible communicable disease.
Officials from MARAD are in contact with their colleagues in St Lucia and both countries’ health officials are liaising.
When contacted, Chief Medical Officer Shamdeo Persaud told Stabroek News “We are still gathering information…tomorrow (today) we will be able to speak on the issue.”
St Lucia’s Senior Medical Officer Sharon Belmar-George is quoted by the Star as saying “We provided an assessment of the other 8 crew members, who were still on board the vessel and using the quarantine act we were able to quarantine and detain the crew members and the cargo on board the vessel”.
“The Ministry of Health, as I indicated, [is] working closely with our local partners, the St Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, the Fire Service and the Marine Police in managing the situation. We are also communicating with the Chief Medical Officer in Guyana and the regional agencies of the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organization in terms of managing the health situation” she said.
She further pointed out that her ministry was still waiting on further tests to “paint a complete picture” of the specific type of respiratory illness they are dealing with.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Robeson Benn informed that today MARAD would further update on the incident.