Halifax to quarantine ship for anthrax check

Egyptian ship headed to Halifax will be quarantined after crewmember believed dead from anthrax.

An Egyptian ship headed for Halifax will be placed under quarantine after a crewmember reportedly died of anthrax.

The Wadi Al Arab was supposed to deliver a load of bauxite to an Alcan aluminum plant in Saguenay, Que.

But it diverted to Brazil earlier in the week to drop off the body of the ship's first mate for medical examination.

An initial autopsy indicated the man may have died of anthrax, a bacterial disease carried by certain animals that affects the skin and lungs. Brazilian authorities will perform a second autopsy to confirm the results.

Officials from Health Canada, the RCMP and Transport Canada were warned about the ship on Wednesday. They will place the vessel under quarantine about eight kilometres offshore.

The ship will then undergo a full decontamination process.

Heath Canada says the presence of anthrax has not been confirmed.

"At this point it's still suspected," said Tracy Taweel, a spokesperson for Health Canada. "There's no confirmation whatsoever there is any trace of anthrax spores on the ship."

Federal health officials say no one else on board is sick. The Wadi Al Arab is expected to arrive at 7 p.m. ET.