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Hapag-Lloyd diverts vessel to Mexico after COVID outbreak

3 crew members hospitalized, 2 quarantined

Container line Hapag-Lloyd said Monday that one of its vessels diverted to Ensenada, Mexico, to evacuate three crew members with COVID-19 to a hospital.

The German carrier said the MV Rome Express, a container ship with the capacity to carry 12,552 twenty-foot equivalent units that operates on its Transpacific East Coast loop, made an unexpected port call in Ensenada after five crew members contracted the virus.

The remaining two crew members are in quarantine on the ship, Hapag-Lloyd said. 

Hapag-Lloyd notified customers that their cargo could be delayed. It said the vessel would remain at port until alternate crew were tested and cleared to board. 

The MV Rome was en route to Busan, South Korea, via the Panama Canal after departing Cartagena, Colombia, when the decision was made to make an emergency stop in Mexico. The weekly westbound service calls at the ports of New York-New Jersey; Norfolk, Virginia; Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia, before heading to Cartagena. 

The MV Rome is now underway again in the Pacific Ocean, according to location tracking service Marine Traffic.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at ekulisch@freightwaves.com