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St. Vincent denies entry to ship with crew suspected of being infected with Ebola virus

Published:Thursday | October 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Gonsalves (right)


St Vincent and the Grenadines earlier this month denied an oil tanker entry into its territorial waters after being informed that two crew members were exhibiting symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has said.

Gonsalves told Parliament that on October 14, he had received a call from the permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Godfred Pompey, indicating that the oil tanker, the Noble Spirit, had also been denied entry into Jamaica because two Filipino nationals, who boarded the tanker at Houston, Texas, on October 10, had high fever and vomiting.

Health authorities warn that high fever and vomiting are among the symptoms of the Ebola virus which has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa. There is no known cure.

Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security, said the tanker was scheduled to call at the port here at 11 p.m. (local time) on October 14, and that he had instructed the Coastguard, the Signal Station and all the relevant agencies that the vessel would not be permitted to enter St Vincent and the Grenadines territorial waters.

"It turns out that when it came down from St Lucia, we allowed it innocent passage, it changed its course and went to Barbados, and was not allowed to land in Barbados."

Gonsalves told lawmakers that he didn't consider it "necessary and desirable to talk to the people about that, certainly not at that time".

He said that from the outside the waters of Barbados, the vessel went to Equatorial Guinea.