Special measures were put in place to ensure the ‘Costa Diadema’s’ transit of the Suez Canal was undertaken safely, as several COVID-19 cases reported on board.
On 23rd March, 2020, the Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA) Admiral Osama Rabie announced that she had successfully transited in the northbound convoy via the new Suez Canal. She was en route from the United Arab Emirates to Italy. She has since arrived at Piombino.
As 65 Coronavirus cases were reported on board, she was piloted remotely via a pilotage team located on two escorting tugs acting in co-ordination with the transit control offices and navigation monitoring stations in a first in the Suez Canal’s history.
Adm Rabie explained that the special measures were adopted to ensure a safe transit in light of the SCA’s commitment to Egypt’s plan aiming to counter the virus, in full co-ordination with the Ministry of Health and quarantine authorities according to the directives of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He pointed out SCA’s readiness to deal with the Coronavirus crisis in a systematic and scientific way through multiple scenarios, including remote pilotage, using advanced marine navigation technology and intensive SCA pilot training.
The SCA also took into consideration the humanitarian element when dealing with the Italian vessel by taking measures to ensure a safe and fast transit without keeping the cruise ship waiting in the anchorage area, he stressed.
These measures also included receiving the vessel in the Canal at 4 am, with a time interval before the northbound convoy. In addition, the four senior pilots were on board two escort tugs to guide the vessel, one tug ahead and the other astern, as well as radar guidance and minute by minute follow-up, was undertaken in full co-ordination with transit control offices and navigation monitoring stations along the Canal.