The 2,800 TEU Ever Balmy, operated by Evergreen Marine Corporation, arrived in Kaohsiung on 4 September and was to have departed for Singapore the following day, with its arrival in the city-state scheduled for 8 September.
However, as 5 of the ship’s 22 crew members tested positive for Covid-19 after exhibiting flu-like symptoms, they and the other 17 crew members had to be quarantined on Ever Balmy for 14 days. At the time of writing, the ship has remained in Wan Hai Container Terminal in Kaohsiung port. This has led several fruit farmers to appeal to the Taiwanese government to let the Covid-19-stricken Ever Balmy resume its voyage, as they have containers of pomelos stuck on the ship.
Pomelos are traditionally eaten to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is on 21 September. The farmers fear financial losses if the goods do not reach Singapore on time, as the cargo receivers could refuse to take delivery, and the fruits have a short shelf life.
The farmers have therefore asked the government to let the ship resume its journey. The Maritime Port Bureau said that the earliest that Ever Balmy can resume its journey is 17 September. This is because the vessel will also need to be deep-cleaned and disinfected.