Crews leaving Turkey for Greece must be checked by doctors

As a result of bird flu cases which have arisen in Turkey, yachts intending to leave for a Greek island – Kos in particular – MUST apply to the local [Turkish] customs authority and have the crew checked by a doctor. According to information we have obtained from the Greek authorities, boat owners who fail to do so will be taken to court.

It is possible, although as yet unconfirmed, that yachts travelling from any areas with confirmed cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu should obtain a local doctor’s certificate. At the time of writing this includes Germany, Austria, Italy (Calabria, E.Sicily & Taranto), Slovenia, Bulgaria, Turkey (Black Sea coast & Van) and N. Cyprus as well as Greece (Oinoussa, near Khios, Thessaloniki and a suspected case on Skyros). Greece and Italy are implementing six mile exclusions around the outbreaks, and in some areas are quarantining the islands concerned.

It is considered highly likely that bird flu will continue to spread as wild birds migrate through Europe. Although the risks to humans not immediately in contact with infected birds are small sailors should take all precautions and comply with requirements to minimise the risk of spreading the disease.