Dead mariner washed up on shore sparks national lockdown

Image: BW Epic Kosan.

The body of a mariner that has tested positive for Covid has sparked a national lockdown in Vanuatu after being found washed up ashore.

The Covid-positive body of a crewmember from the BW Epic Kosan-owned LPG carrier Inge Kosan has washed up in a beach near Port Vila in Vanuatu, sparking a national lockdown.

The UK-flagged 3,800-dwt ship discovered that it was missing a crewmember as it sailed out of port earlier this month and returned to conduct a search and rescue operation. It is not known whether the mariner died from Covid or from falling overboard.

The Pacific nation has only recorded three cases of Covid to date and took swift measures to contain a possible outbreak, implementing an outward travel ban from its main island and quarantining the officers who handled the body. The Inge Kosan has been detained.

Authorities on the island said the chances of transmission were small, but leader of the opposition, Ralph Regenvanu said on Twitter that although Vanuatu had imposed “admirably strict quarantine protocols on all ports of entry into the country,” they didn’t foresee that a dead body with Covid-19 could wash ashore and be put in “the only mortuary in the country where people gather to mourn every day.”

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