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.

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