Ship with COVID-19 on Board Piloted Remotely through Suez Canal
A cruise ship with at least reported 65 cases of coronavirus on board was piloted remotely through the Sueaz Canal.
On March 23, a pilotage team aboard two escort tugs remotely piloted Italian passenger ship Costa Diadema during a northbound convoy through the new Suez Canal, while the ship was sailing without passengers from from the United Arab Emirates to Italy. In addition to four senior pilots to guide the vessel on two escorting tugs, one in the front and one astern, radar guidance and minute by minute follow-up were employed in full coordination with transit control offices and navigation monitoring stations along the Canal.
Suez Canal Authority Chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, said the authority considered the humanitarian dimension when dealing with the Italian vessel, taking unprecedented measures to ensure a safe and fast transit for the vessel without keeping it waiting in the anchorage area, which guaranteed the vessel a quick arrival for its destination and ensured that the infected on board could recieve medical treatment as quickly as possible. The applied measures also included receiving the vessel in the Canal at 4 a.m., with a time interval before the northbound convoy.
Admiral Rabie emphasized the Canal's role in serving global trade and pointed out the full readiness of the SCA to deal with the coronavirus crisis in a systematic and scientific way through multiple scenarios including remote pilotage, utilizing advanced technology of marine navigation, and intensive training for SCA pilots on marine maneuvers.
Admiral Rabie stressed the importance of preventive measures to ensure the continuity of navigation in the Canal while guaranteeing the safety of those who get in close contact with the transiting vessels through vaccinating them against the flu and pneumonia, carrying regular medical check-ups on the pilots, surveyors, and mooring men upon embarking and disembarking the transiting vessels by a fully-equipped and qualified medical team stationed at the pilotage marinas in the three Canal cities. He added that general health measures such as wearing facemasks, gloves, and full isolation suits, as well as using disinfectants are also being applied.