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Ports tighten Ebola security, cargo delays expected, supply chains disrupted

BRAZIL, Argentina and the US have tightened port entry procedures for ships that have sailed from West Africa to control the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed more than 3,400 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Ports tighten Ebola security, cargo delays expected, supply chains disrupted
12 October 2014 - 16:47

Ports tighten Ebola security, cargo delays expected, supply chains disrupted

BRAZIL, Argentina and the US have tightened port entry procedures for ships that have sailed from West Africa to control the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed more than 3,400 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The US Coast Guard has announced it would screen individuals coming into the United States via ships from Ebola ports.

Brazil's health surveillance agency Anvisa said ships which docked in Ebola-affected countries in the last 21 days will receive clearance to dock at Brazilian ports after a thorough analysis of medical records and logs showing medicine used.

Said an Anvisa spokesman: "The ship that arrives from affected areas with no suspected case is cleared by communication over the radio. Inspectors may come aboard to verify conditions."

Anvisa also said discovery of a suspected Ebola case would require the ship to dock in an isolation area as infected personnel are taken to hospital.

While ports have not yet to quarantined ships and their crews, more rigorous screening has been imposed, which could potentially slow shipping activity, said Reuters.

The Ebola outbreak has disrupted logistics in West Africa and rattled commodities and mining markets as the region is a major source of raw materials such as iron ore as well as crude oil, bauxite and cocoa.

Speaking for the insurers, a Steamship Mutual man said: "Delays to vessels calling at ports where they have previously called at West African ports are likely to increase. If such a vessel has stowaways aboard, the situation will be worse as authorities try and determine identities and any health problems."

Argentina has similar procedures in place, officials said.

Panama Canal authorities say they will monitor the last 10 port calls of all vessels arriving in the waterway.

"If Ebola is diagnosed, the vessel will be placed in quarantine until the health ministry declares it safe for boarding," said a spokesman.

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