The world’s largest heavy cargo vessel, Boskalis’ Boka Vanguard, has interrupted its voyage from China to Brazil in South Africa to land five seriously ill seafarers. The dead man remains on board at the captain’s request. It concerns crew members of the new oil production ship Petrobras 70 carried onboard the Boka Vanguard.

The Boka Vanguard is transporting the ship from the construction site in Qingdao, China, to Rio de Janeiro. During transport, work was carried out onboard the FPSO on behalf of the shipyard en route. Boskalis stated to the Russian Maritime Bulletin that there was no accident on board, as initially reported, but that those on board had fallen seriously ill along the way.

The ship then set course for the South African port of Durban. The sick persons on board were taken off board by helicopters of the Air Force to transfer them to hospitals ashore.

UPDATE: Alcohol Poisoning Cause of Illness

According to Boskalis, the six, all Brazilians, drank illegally from a cleaning agent, which in all likelihood contained a mixture of ethanol and the highly toxic methanol. The Dutch contractor has also stated the five successfully recovered from their poisoning. Incidentally, it took 36 hours before they reported to the ship’s management.

The company stresses that it has a zero-tolerance policy with regard to alcohol on its offshore vessels. The Vanguard has meanwhile resumed its trip to Brazil.

This article first appeared on Nieuwsblad Transport, a sister publication of SWZ|Maritime.

Picture: Medevac by helicopter from the Boka Vanguard (by Sea Rescue South Africa (NSRI) Durban).