CONCERNS have been raised that several crew members on a huge cargo ship berthed in Greenock have contracted Covid-19.

The Telegraph understands that up to eight workers aboard the MSC Samira III, which is currently berthed at Ocean Terminal, may have the virus, with lateral flow tests coming back positive and two people experiencing severe symptoms.

It is claimed that some crew members were unwell on leaving Liverpool last week before the vessel sailed to Ireland and then arrived in Greenock on Tuesday afternoon.

The person said: "The crew showed symptoms upon leaving Liverpool on January 7 en route to Dublin, then Greenock.

"The captain had already informed the company but the company dismissed it."

The source has stated that the company's designated person ashore, or DPA, was also notified.

They said: "The company's DPA told the crew to not to inform any authority nor family members.

"They said that the rapid test was not reliable despite showing symptoms and eight of them have positive results which is a high probability of having the infection."

Amid concerns for their welfare, the Telegraph has been told that one staff member has been bedridden and another has a fever and yet has been working on deck while the vessel is berthed here.

A source claimed that two other people who tested positive were also still working on deck.

They said other crew members have now experienced mild symptoms and it's feared they could also have the virus.

The ship is operated by MSC, Mediterranean Shipping Company, a Swiss-Italian firm.

The company have arranged for crew members to take PCR tests, with the results of these expected within 24 hours.

A spokesperson for MSC said: "In respect of the container ship MSC Samira III, which is currently berthed at port of Greenock, there are no confirmed cases onboard, as at 12 January.

"As per standard procedures, all crew onboard MSC Samira III are being tested and monitored for symptoms.

"MSC will evaluate any reports of symptoms from seafarers and observe guidance and instructions from local authorities in relation to vessel and cargo operations, as we always do."

All vessels arriving at the terminal are required to complete a maritime declaration of health the day before their arrival and any crew or passengers must observe the same isolation rules as are in force on land.

A joint statement from NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Inverclyde Council said: "We have been informed of a number of positive cases on board and those impacted and their contacts must remain in isolation on board or be disembarked separately from other passengers and conveyed in suitable Covid-secure transport to their ultimate destination and follow current isolation guidelines.

"Inverclyde Council and NHS GGC, as the port health authorities, will act accordingly on the basis of the information supplied by the vessel."

A spokesperson for terminal operators Peel Ports said: "Health and safety is, and always will be, our number one priority.

"All vessels need to present a valid medical declaration to the port health authority in advance of arrival.

"The declaration for the MSC Samira III does not indicate any case of Covid-19 onboard and so operations continue in line with the stringent Covid-19 practices that are already in place.

"Should we get any further information we will review the situation.”