The Singapore-flagged dry bulk carrier, Thor Monadic, owned by Thorsen Shipping of Singapore, arrived in Hong Kong waters on August 24 and among the 23 vessel crew members on board, 15 of them tested positive for Covid-19 the day after. They were all carrying the L452R mutant strain.
Hong Kong Police boarded the Thor Mondic on September 6 to investigate the circumstance around the Covid-19 cases. They searched the vessel for evidence, and the information was presented last week in court.
Media reports indicate that the ship's logs reflected that when the vessel entered Hong Kong waters several crew members had fevers, were coughing, and reporting difficulties breathing. The captain, however, reported to health authorities that the vessel was free of disease and requested a pass.
The 53-year-old captain of the Thor Monadic, a Thai citizen named Ekarat Timwatthana, was brought before a chief judge and charged with committing fraud. He's alleged to have knowingly and deliberately provided false information to the Department of Health so that they would approve the vessel's entry into Hong Kong waters around August 23.
The captain is facing up to 14 years in jail on the increased charges of fraud. He was released on HKD10,000 (US$1,300) bail but made to surrender his travel documents. He has to remain in Hong Kong and report three times a week to the police. His case is scheduled to be heard on November 11.