Hong Kong police arrested the captain of a Singapore-flagged bulk carrier, after charging him for providing false information to health authorities.
ore specifically, in late August, Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection reported a total of 68 cases of COVID-19 in the prior two weeks.
Fifteen of the cases reported at the end of August were linked to a single dry bulk carrier, Singapore-flagged Thor Monadic. The crew were moved to a hospital on shore, while the remaining eight crew members were ordered to quarantine aboard the vessel.
Now, the Department of Health reported that it was investigating the Thor Monadic and a second vessel, an LNG carrier the Asia Energy that had been in Hong Kong earlier in August.
The latter was also suspected of failing to report positive cases of COVID-19 when it stopped in Hong Kong but had departed days later.
What is more, the Hong Kong Police boarded the Thor Mondic on September 6, in order to investigate the circumstance around the COVID-19 cases. They searched the vessel for evidence, and the information was presented last week in court.
Media report that the ship’s logs showed that when the vessel entered Hong Kong waters several crew members had fevers, were coughing, and reporting difficulties breathing. The captain, however, reported to health authorities that the vessel was free of disease and requested a pass.
The 53-year-old captain of the Thor Monadic was brought before a chief judge of the province and charged with committing fraud.
The authorities said that he knowingly and deliberately provided false information to the Department of Health so that they would approve the vessel’s entry into Hong Kong waters around August 23.
Now, the captain is facing up to 14 years in jail on the increased charges of fraud. He was later released on HK$10,000 bail but made to surrender his travel documents.
The captain now has to remain in Hong Kong and report three times a week to the police. His case is scheduled to be heard on November 11.