Three seafarers were taken to hospital with severe symptoms of Covid-19 after a Hapag-Lloyd vessel diverted to Mexico.

The 12,552-teu Rome Express (built 2010) had been heading from Cartagena in Columbia on the German operator's Transpacific East Coast Loop (EC2) service when it made an unexpected schedule change due to illness on board, the company said.

The AP news agency cited the Mexican navy as saying six seafarers were evacuated at Ensenada on Thursday.

Upon arriving at the dock, they were met by private medical personnel in three ambulances, which made the transfer to clinics, the navy added.

In a note to clients, Hapag-Lloyd added that five crew members had tested positive while the ship was en route to Busan in South Korea.

Three of these five were admitted to hospital, while the other two remained in quarantine, the company added.

The vessel was to stay in port until an alternate crew has been tested and cleared for boarding.

Cargo planning affected

Hapag-Lloyd told clients that their cargo planning might be affected by the diversion.

"We apologise for the inconvenience that this incident might cause," the company told customers.

Hapag-Lloyd has been contacted for an update on the seafarers.

No details were provided of vaccination status or the total number of crew members on board, nor was the type of Covid-19 variant identified.

The last AIS data update from Saturday showed the vessel underway off the west coast of South America, heading to Busan for an estimated arrival date of 17 December.