Tanker carrying crew members with Ebola-like symptoms turned away

Barbados has blocked a tanker carrying two crew members with Ebola-like symptoms from berthing at the Bridgetown Port.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy made the disclosure in Parliament this evening, as he insisted that the Ebola threat was not only a health matter but a national security issue.

Although he did not state when the vessel had been prevented from entering the port, or where it had originated, Sealy said the action by Barbadian authorities proved that the systems put in place to prevent the virus from reaching these shores were working.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy

“There was a tanker, the Noble Spirit, that when the protocols were tested, was actually denied entry into Barbados waters. There were two persons on board who had symptoms that were deemed to be Ebola-like and on the basis of the various protocols the port managers, national security, defence and security [officials], immigration, and the Office of the Prime Minister, we were able to say ‘no thank you’. I think they were already refused a berthing spot in Jamaica,” Sealy revealed.

He insisted that there was no reason for Barbados to follow some of its Caribbean neighbours by instituting a ban on nationals from the worst affected West African nations.

Instead, he said, authorities had decided to take a measured, sensible approach to the situation and to devise the appropriate protocols.

“We have decided not to go that route. That is a bit extremist and not at all sensible thinking because if you start, how do you stop? If you go and identify three countries in West Africa where there are Ebola cases and ban travel from there, what happens when you have a couple of cases in the United Kingdom? Are we going to shut down the UK source market and ban travel from there too? It doesn’t make sense and we, therefore, have gone the route of putting the appropriate protocols in place.”

Sealy said Ebola transcends health and was being viewed by the Freundel Stuart administration as a national security matter.

As such, he said, a committee dealing specifically with the virus had been established, quarantine centres at both ports of entry were upgraded and an isolation unit had also been set up on the grounds of the Enmore Centre.

“Government has been taking the Ebola question extremely serious and, in fact, has not been treating it as a public health issue exclusively. Far from that, the National Security Council was convened. That body is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has met twice on this issue as far back as August 19. The member for St Michael South chaired that meeting on August 19. I chaired the second meeting in September when I was acting in [the capacity of Prime Minister]. Prior to that August 19 meeting, the national security review committee actually met on August 8,” he said.

Earlier this month, there was an Ebola scare aboard the cruise ship Carnival Magic that was denied entry into Belize and Mexico. The vessel was blocked because of the presence of a lab worker at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan – a Liberian who died from the virus in the US state earlier this month – had been treated. The worker was subsequently declared Ebola free.

Sealy said cruise lines had also developed their own protocols to deal with Ebola.

He said with the cruise season approaching, Barbadian authorities were working with Cruise Lines International Association, CLIA, and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association “because they too have a lot at stake”.

“When you invest $1 billion in a cruise ship you can’t just allow an Ebola outbreak on board. So they have a vested interest, as well, in working with us insofar as ensuring that that industry remains Ebola-free.”

More than 4,500 people have already died from Ebola.



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19 Responses to NO ENTRY

  1. Valdine Turton
    Valdine Turton October 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    You are right nip it in the bud, country too small for such an outburst smart thinking.

  2. Francis McClean
    Francis McClean October 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Serious business dat

  3. Lindsay Farmer
    Lindsay Farmer October 22, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    So we are expected to believe that a vessel which has not been anywhere near the African continent in the past 9 months, and sailed from New Orleans on Oct 1st, and Houston on Oct 10th arrived in our waters on the 15th, may have had crew members with ebola.
    More likely they had Chikungunya or Flu.

    • Lindsay Farmer
      Lindsay Farmer October 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Yup. I smelt BS and went looking.

    • Sue Donym October 22, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Houston… Texas… maybe that’s the link. If not, perhaps better to err on the side of caution.

  4. Michael A Clarke
    Michael A Clarke October 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Pray tell what are” ebola like “symptoms ?So we cannot even tell if it is ebola or not ?

    • Sue Donym October 22, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Ever heard of Google? Educate yourself, it could save your life.

  5. Tammy Browne
    Tammy Browne October 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm


  6. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte October 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    when the Government did not band travel from West Africa everyone had plenty to say. Now there a suspect case and a denial of entry people still got plenty to say.

    It seems like people of BIM really need a case of ebola to talk or get excited about ….. smfh

  7. Elaine Crichlow
    Elaine Crichlow October 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Must do on hands investagations before making decisions out of fear or because you can…..

  8. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes October 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    They refuse a ship’s entry in Belize and Mexico the passenger was exposed to ebola even though there were no symptoms. That ship did not go near Africa but one person was handling blood samples of a patient who had it. Not sure who or where the crew members were exposed to. Beetter safe than sorry.

  9. Ju Ju
    Ju Ju October 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    It’s about time BIM did something sensible!

  10. Beverley Headley
    Beverley Headley October 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm


  11. Ouida Burnham
    Ouida Burnham October 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Very sensible move only GOD can help us all we have to pray without ceasing oh Lord have mercy on us

  12. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock October 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    This sounds like drama.

  13. Patrick Blackman October 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    This is nothing to be proud of Mr. Minister, this is despicable and outright horrible thing to do.


  14. Troy Devonish
    Troy Devonish October 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    what a load of BS…a mediocre red herring to make the populace feel this government’s response is competent. If we continue to accept individuals from countries where the infection rate is high we increase our chances of having a visitor with it. A visitor with Ebola may not exhibit signs and symptoms on entry but later as they go about enjoying our beautiful country..eating at Cheffette, going to the Globe, shopping in Bridgetown…all it takes is one!!!

  15. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch October 22, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    So plans are in place how do you treat the intransit passengers?

  16. Rickie Nurse October 23, 2014 at 3:18 am

    I am the biggest critic of this administration, no doubt about that, but at lease it appears as if they may somehow be trying to think on their feet.
    To handle the issue on a case by case basis is the right move, instead of an outright ban on particular countries and their nationals.
    This does not in anyway make this government a competent one at all, that’s still far, far from the truth.


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