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  1. ITV Report

Ship from Ebola-struck country to dock in Falmouth

A ship from a West African country hit by the deadly Ebola virus will be docking in Falmouth next month. The 38,000 tonne vessel is coming to the port for a refit, and is expected to remain for up to two weeks.

Falmouth Docks today confirmed that the vessel will be arriving from Sierra Leone. The country is one of the areas hit worst by the virus; just days ago the RFA Argus headed out there to help fight the spread of the disease.

The ship is called the Gypsum Centennial, and is used to carry iron from an inland mine to Freetown, the country’s capital. From there she’ll start her journey to the Queen Elizabeth Dock in Falmouth for her million pound refit.

The head of the firm carrying out the work says they'll follow Government guidelines. A sister ship from Sierra Leone was in the port over the summer and there were no problems.

As we understand it Ebola is transferred by bodily fluids and as long as there's no bodily contact and as long as you follow all the precautions…I mean all these ships are fully aware of what's happening out in Africa.

– Peter Child, A&P Falmouth

The docks say they're confident there's no risk to their workforce

We will follow all the guidelines that's required and do everything that's necessary.

We're following Government guidelines. If they say it's safe to fly in from Africa,obviously it's safe to come in by ship.

– Peter Child, A&P Falmouth
The ship is from Sierra Leone, a country currently hit by an Ebola outbreak

The Cornwall Port Health Authority is responsible for monitoring all vessels coming into Falmouth. They say the risk of Ebola in the UK is small, and that no special measures are required for the Gypsum Centennial. However, they will be seeking assurances from the captain that his crew are in good health.

The master of the ship has a duty to declare to the port health authority a medical declaration and we will be liaising with the port health authority to ensure there's no risk to the pilot from any communicable disease

– Duncan Paul, Deputy Harbour Master

Appropriate measures will be planned and taken by Public Health England closer to the arrival of the ship

– Public Health England

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