Coronavirus: Costa Diadema transits Suez under remote pilotage

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Costa Diadema (Image: Suez Canal Authority)

When Costa Cruises’ 3,693 passenger-capacity Costa Diadema transited the Suez Canal northbound on March 23, the Suez Canal Authority took special measures, as there were reportedly 65 cases of COVID-19 infection on board.

Suez Canal Authority Chairman Admiral Osama Rabie says that the vessel had to be piloted remotely. Four senior pilots guided the vessel from two escorting tugs, one in the front and one astern, using radar and minute by minute follow-up, in full coordination with transit control offices and navigation monitoring stations along the Canal.

Admiral Rabie says that in dealing with the Costa Diadema , the authorities took unprecedented measures to ensure a safe and fast transit for the vessel without keeping it waiting in the anchorage area, in order to guarantee the vessel a quick arrival at its destination so that those in need of treatment could get it as early as possible. In addition to remote pilotage, the measures taken included receiving the vessel in the Canal at 4 AM, with a time interval before the regular northbound convoy.

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