Five crew members have been taken to hospital from a Norden-operated bulker in France with severe Covid-19 symptoms.

French media said the 63,000-dwt Nord Sunda (built 2019) diverted to Le Havre on 30 June.

Emergency services evacuated the seafarers from the vessel, leaving 11 others in isolation on board.

All 16 had tested positive for Covid-19 after being examined by a medical team from the French navy, the Paris Normandie daily reported.

The medics had boarded the vessel at sea off Guernsey. When the test results were known, the decision was taken to bring the bulker in to Le Havre, according to harbour master Nicolas Chervy.

The Nord Sunda was en route from Liberia.

Crew being supplied

A guard post has been established on the quayside by the ship. Food and water is being provided as needed.

Nord Sunda was carrying iron ore to Dunkirk.

Charterer Norden expressed its deep concern over the outbreak of Covid-19 on the ship.

The vessel is owned by Mitsui & Co and technically managed by Filteam Shipmanagement of the Philippines, with insurance provided by the North of England Club.

Norden told TradeWinds it was in contact with both companies.

"The situation has been reported to the relevant P&I club, who are in ongoing dialogue with the authorities," the charterer added.

"We have great sympathy and concern for the crew in this distressing situation, and our thoughts are with the crew members and their family," Norden added.

Dangerous variants

The highly infectious nature of new Covid-19 variants, particularly the Delta strain, continues to pose a threat to crews.

In June, a crew member died and another five tested positive for Covid-19 after an outbreak on a V.Ships-managed containership off Ecuador.

The Hamburg office of the ship manager told TradeWinds that the other infected seafarers were asymptomatic.

The outbreak occurred on the 3,534-teu Northern Democrat (built 2009), owned by Northern Shipping Holding of Germany, while it was en route from the US port of Los Angeles to Ecuador.