Danish sailors already risk attacks from pirates when sailing in the waters off the coast of some African nations, and now the ongoing Ebola outbreak has given them more to worry about.
The sailors have voiced their concerns at becoming infected with the deadly Ebola virus when on ships that port in west-African harbours, according to Fritz Ganzhorn, the head of the sailors’ union Søfartens Ledere.
“It’s the insecurity of perhaps being infected with Ebola, which is a very dangerous and deadly illness,” Ganzhorn said according to TV2 News. “It’s something that worries many of our members.”
According to Denmark’s shipping association Danmarks Rederiforening, about 10 to 30 Danish or Danish-owned ships sail in the Atlantic off the west-African coast every day.
Millions could be infected by January
Ganzhorn said that the shipping industry was very aware of the Ebola risk; instruction guides have been to the ships instructing the sailors how to best avoid being infected. There are already protective suits and masks aboard some ships that the sailors can use if there is need to.
“It is of course helpful to underline the seriousness of the situation, but for some of our members, the considerable security gear only heightens their concern about getting infected,” Ganzhorn said.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday projected that in a worse-case scenario the Ebola epidemic might have 1.4 million cases in the two nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone by January 20.