Hamburg has instituted inspections of all vessels arriving in the port that have visited countries affected by the Ebola outbreak countries in the previous 30 days, and will quarantine ships if crew members are found to have symptoms of the deadly disease.
The development marks an apparent tightening of precautions at Europe’s second-largest port.
A spokesman said last week that no specific regulations were in place and that Hamburg saw no need to duplicate screening that had probably already been carried out in other European ports.
Martin Dirksen-Fischer, head of the port of Hamburg’s medical service, told regional television station NDR: “We are going on board, talking with the captain, asking whether there is any sickness and looking in the medical log.”
Where a case of Ebola is suspected, the entire vessel will be placed under quarantine, Dirksen-Fischer added.
The patient will then be isolated in a cabin, and colleagues allowed to approach only if dressed in protective clothing.
Only around half a dozen ships a month are calling in Hamburg from the impacted region, which is only around half the level seen at the start of the year.
This may stem from declining trade volumes, or reflect a deliberate decision by shipowners to avoid the area.