The alert was sounded last Friday by the Maritime and Port Agency in two circulars sent to health authorities, maritime and port authorities, police, shipping companies and agencies, and is aimed at reinforcing the measures announced by the government to control the Ebola virus. The prohibition, according to the document signed by Commander José Fortes, even applies to ships in cases of medical emergencies.
“Any ship or vessel that, during the period in which the present resolution remains in effect, fails to comply with said resolution will be considered to have committed a maritime offence and will be responsible for all of the costs incurred as a result of the intervention of the relevant authorities, as well as of possible specific interventions on the part of Cape Verdean health authorities that prove to be necessary,” stresses the circular.
In the circular, the Maritime and Port Agency reserves itself the right to deny access to Cape Verde’s ports to ships that fail to respect the measure. The order coming from the Agency comes following a resolution approved by the government prohibiting non-resident foreigners who have been in countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in the past thirty days from entering Cape Verde.
Aware of the permeability of West Africa’s maritime borders and of the possibility of contact between the crews of different ships on the high seas, the Maritime and Port Agency believes that the risk of the virus passing from one ship to another is real.