Turkish media have claimed Chinese Covid-19 restrictions contributed to the fatal fall of a chief officer from an Oldendorff Carriers bulker.

The Hurriyet daily said Turkish national Selcuk Elibol, 36, died after plunging 10 metres from a rope ladder on the side of the 206,000-dwt Mathilde Oldendorff (built 2013) in Tianjin on 29 January.

The 300-metre vessel had docked to load a cargo. Following that operation, Elibol wanted to check how far the hull had lowered in the water.

The report said the officer was refused a permit to disembark at the port due to the country’s “zero Covid” policy.

Unable to view the ship from land, Elibol used the ladder, but lost his balance, hitting the concrete wharf below.

Medics were unable to save him.

Oldendorff told TradeWinds its managers do not yet have much additional information pending a full investigation.

But the company said: “It is with deep sadness that we report the tragic death of our valued crew member chief officer Selcuk Elibol on board of our vessel Mathilde Oldendorff.”

Full support for the family

“We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends and are offering our full support to them in this extremely difficult time,” the owner added.

Arrangements for the quickest possible of repatriation of Elibol’s body to his home country are being made, Oldendorff said.

The Oldendorff ship has insurance through the United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Assurance Association.

AIS data showed it underway off China on Tuesday morning.

TradeWinds has reported how ship masters are suffering increased stress through a perceived lack of control because of the pandemic, particularly in China and Asia more widely.

Clinical psychologist Charles Watkins of seafarer support organisation Mental Health Support Solutions said captains are operating in what one master likened to the “Wild West” in terms of disregard for rules in ports.

Officers have told Watkins they are feeling helpless for the first time in their careers when arriving at terminals.

“They used to have a lot of rules and regulations that gave them security and safety, but now people are ignoring those rules,” Watkins told TradeWinds.

“Authorities are doing whatever they want to do. If a crew member tests positive, they have the right to take that crew member out, put them in a quarantine facility.”