African ship carrying sick crewmen to dock in New Orleans

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UPDATE: The shipping vessel which had malaria-stricken crew members aboard docked in New Orleans around 1:35 p.m. Thursday. The Marine Phoenix will unload its cargo Friday morning.

See video of the ship HERE

UPDATE: Sick passengers aboard a cargo ship in the Mississippi River have Malaria. The ship has been quarantined.

WGNO News was able to board the Marine Phoenix and get close up shots of the ship. See Exclusive video HERE


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Sick passengers aboard a ship which traveled near western Africa were transported to West Jefferson Medical Center Wednesday.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the ship is scheduled to dock in New Orleans sometime tonight, but earlier today at least one person was taken off the ship and transported to land.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told WGNO that passenger was in critical condition.

According to a statement from West Jefferson Medical Center, federal and state health officials met the ship and are managing the patient transfers.

Hospital spokesman Taslin Alfonzo said the hospital may receive up to four crew members, plus a river pilot that boarded the ship.

"Our doctors and staff are ready and we have instituted full safety precautions in the unlikely event that this turns out to be something of concern," Alfonzo said.

Extra precautions are being taken because of the Ebola risk, but a CDC spokesperson said the chances that the ill passengers have Ebola is "exceedingly low."

"The vessel’s itinerary did include Matadi, DRC, in addition to other ports, but there is no evidence to suggest that the crew members traveled to, or had any contact with anyone from the remote inland region of DRC where Ebola cases are occurring.

Given this, the chance that the crew member could have Ebola is thought to be exceedingly low," the CDC said.

Remaining crew members on the ship will be evaluated.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's communications director, Garnesha Crawford said the city is working close with officials at the CDC. The city has also asked state and federal agencies for help in case of a "worst-case scenario."

Several CDC staffers were already in New Orleans training local workers.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Center for Disease and Control are handling the case.


    • Your Name

      You do realize Malaria is a very treatable infection right? It isn’t the early 1900’s, where your brain lives.

    • glenn Melancon

      Shouldn’t they have quartined ship in international waters makes me wonder!!! The CDC should have boarded before it arriving in the USA water way.

  • shelly

    They need to tell us where! I will Def run a protest when then boat docks! We need to all come together and not allow him to step foot off that boat! Ship them back. They should have medical staff on the freaking boat. Air lift him off the boat! Bring him where others are being treated already! This is some shit! Please news if your gonna do anything right find out which dock!

    • Your Name

      Yeah! Ship them back, so they can die on the boat! And duuuh, all ships have containment units, it’s like, totally standard. Yeah! Airlift him off a five person ship! Should be plenty of room to land it, and we should spend all that tax payer money to fuel a helicopter, instead of just driving them to a hospital. Makes sense. Do you realize your kind of an ignorant monster?

  • gwen

    This is freaking outrageous. And so it begins here in nola the freaking ebola. And some other news is trying to say that it Is malaria. BULLSHIT. The cdc wont go to a ship to worry about malaria?? Believe that !

  • me

    To late! they are at westjeff hospital, why not quarantine the damn boat and draw the blood on board ! Thats the federal government for you. Nothing like putting the public at risk! Have they ever heard think before you act ! ! ?

    • Your Name

      It’s “Think before you speak,” which clearly you’re not doing. Considering that they had been stuck at sea, they probably need immediate medical attention. But no, let’s leave those dangerous fellow human beings there to suffer while we do a blood panel and send it off for results. Also, when was the last Malaria outbreak in the U.S. that you remember? Was it 100 years ago? Yeah, it was probably, because it’s 2014.

  • paulie777

    Isn’t this how the Outbreak movie started….a ship docked in port and the virus got out. When the movie was made an ebola outbreak began in Zaire three month later and now this. Hopefully no sick people took a rowboat to shore before they called it in. Stranger things have happened.

  • A

    Ignorance! You can’t get the Ebola virus without contact with the infected person! A ship coming into dock and the sick (did the article even say that the disease Ebola was the cause of the sickness?) being transported to the hospital does not require people protesting! This is a scare tactic by ignorant folk and is unwarranted! Let’s wait for the rest of the story.

  • kendrick

    This is ludicrous! The government has been trying to bring that disease to the United States. Why is our government allowing this to happen? I can honestly see nothing positive coming out of this… They have been going overseas before to treat this disease, why NOW must you treat it in the USA? We need to wake up America. The government is trying their best to start something really nasty that will probably end up blowing up in their faces and we as US citizens will be their guinea pigs. This is NOT ok!

    • Your Name

      I get that the crew got sick on the boat but don’t buy Malaria. How did the river pilot get sick so quickly? He boarded the ship to guide it into port. He hasn’t been on the ship that long. Malaria is most commonly spread by the bite of one type of mosquito that is infected and more rarely by coming into contact with contaminated blood. Symptoms usually take between 7 days and 4 weeks to show. Ebola takes 2 to 21 days. I’m not sure how long the river pilot was on the boat but am wondering what he caught that developed so quickly.

    • Laura g

      For sure. Malaria is spread from Mosquitos, not contagious unless your bitten by the infected mosquito . My grandfather was in WWII and got malaria, he was on his death bed when they came in with the treatment and vaccine for it and was one of the first to try the treatment. They said it may not work as it was experimental and he said well either way I’m a dead man so give it to me. That was the beginning of the vaccine as it cured him.

  • Sexy man

    1st they tried to kill us all with Katrina now a ship with a infected crew I’m getting the hell out of New Orleans before it’s to late

  • Don Ivo

    What is this medieval mockery propaganda ? ship with sick crewman lol i guess airliners caring sick people and tourists from all over the world to the U.S. does not happen, just boats from Africa. pfffhahaha

  • auntynini

    The real issue in my view is that in light the unprecedented ebola epidemic occurring in West Africa, they are allowing cargo ships from that region and other places with known or suspected ebola cases to dock in US ports (sick crew or not.) I don’t think open borders and lax seaports are prudent measures at this time. I also don’t think that viewing itinerary’s and asking crew members about possible exposure is sufficient. If you had negative information and you happened to live in a developing country, I don’t think you would be completely truthful about your history, for fear of not being allowed to disembark and receive American care in an American hospital.

    Also, what about stow-aways, what about other carriers of the disease that happen to be on the boat…what about intentional efforts on the part of folks who might want to spread the disease? Lucky that this particular situation seems to be resolved, but enough of these incidents and one that is not so benign might take root in a US inner city, urban, touristy, environment. Given that we could be much more conservative with respect to travel and transportation from currently uncontrolled high risk areas into our country, even one unsuspecting American on American soil to be exposed to ebola and contract it – in my view, is one too many.

  • Jimbo

    Read the work of doctors Brosseau and Jones and it is painfully obvious that our city has just been carelessly contaminated with ebola

  • Kaddi

    Does obama have something against the people of New Orleans? Would make more sense to leave a boat with contaminated people docked AWAY from land…..or better yet…..take the medical care needed to Africa. Is he intentionally wanting to spread this disease to Americans?

  • DeAnna

    They need to keep all those f*ing people and those f*ing diseases out of the f*ing US. Not going to be satisfied until it spreads everywhere and cannot be controlled.

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