March 5, 2020 / 5:10 PM / a month ago

Russian ports to disinfect ships from three countries over coronavirus - document

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the NovorossiIsk Fuel Oil Terminal (NMT) in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, Russia May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Natalya Chumakova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has ordered the mandatory disinfection of ships arriving at the Black Sea ports of Novorossiisk and Yuzhnaya Ozereyevka from Iran, Italy and South Korea because of the coronavirus, a document seen by Reuters showed.

A branch of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, has ordered port agents “to arrange the disinfection of ships arriving from these countries before the border is opened” in the city of Novorossiisk, the document showed.

Novorossiisk port is one of the biggest on the Black Sea. It handles grain, coal, mineral fertilizers, timber, oil and oil products, containers, food and chemical cargoes.

Rospotrebnadzor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A source in Novorossiisk who is familiar with the matter told Reuters “not many” ships were arriving from the countries identified “but delays are obviously possible” in processing those that do.

It was not immediately clear how the vessels would be disinfected, the source said.

Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft gained control of the Novorossiisk Commercial Sea Port Group (NCSP) in 2018.

The Yuzhnaya Ozereyevka terminal is the end point of the CPC trunk oil pipeline that connects the Tengiz field in Kazakhstan, and a number of other fields, to the sea terminal near the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.

Transneft said on Thursday it had suspended business trips for its staff due to the coronavirus outbreak, Interfax news agency reported.

Reporting by Gleb Gorodyankin; Editing by Timothy Heritage

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