Vietnamese media is reporting that fish was most likely the cause of severe food poisoning onboard COSCO Shipping’s bulk carrier which took the lives of at least 12 crewmembers, with unconfirmed reports suggesting one more person has also died.
The Chinese-flagged bulker, while on its way from Thailand to China, last Friday 30 Sep after its crew of 21 suddenly fell ill about 63 miles to the southeast of Con Dao island, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.
Vietnamese authorities dispatched helicopters to bring the victims to a hospital onshore leaving the vessel without any crew onboard, but by the time the rescue team arrived, 10 crewmembers were already dead. Another two died on the way to a hospital on Con Dao island.
One of the interviewed saved crewmembers reportedly said the crew ate duck meat and Chinese canned meat the day before without any problems. However, on Friday evening the crew had fish and vegetables with many experiencing abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. There were some people who quickly developed this condition, but some didn’t show signs of instability until later that night, the crewmember was quoted as saying.
Food safety training remains insufficient among the global merchant fleet, David Steele, the founder of Food Inspection and Training told today, going on to highlight how Chinese companies, in particular, did not tend to spend enough time on the issue.
“Most shipping companies still do not provide sufficient training. And from many years the training provided in China, India and other countries does not meet the learning hours that are needed to be fully aware of food safety,” he said.