Back to sea for Seacope Fishing

‘New normal’

04 May 2020 | Fishing

Luis Mulet Sar; Captain, Pemba Bay; “The exercise will be costly, but it has to be done...”

Walvis Bay

The Walvis Bay-based Seacope Freezer Fishing Company has begun getting ready to go back to sea after the ministry of fisheries and lifted the ban on sea-going vessel operations last week.

In preparation for the return of its MFV Pemba Bay freezer vessel to sea, the Seaflower Whitefish Corporation Limited subsidiary, has carried out all the necessary Coronavirus awareness training for crew members.

Human resources consultant Anastasie Helao said that the 56 crew members were trained in Covid-19 detection and prevention measures on board the vessel as well as during offloading processes onshore.

“Government considered the importance of our industry in our economy and that is why we took the initiative to train our crew. The training is in line with Covid-19 Labour Directives that were introduced by government on 20 April 2020, to which we all must abide to safeguard the health and safety of our employees while delivering a product that is safe amidst the situation we have found ourselves in. This is not only important to the company but to the nation as well.”

Pemba Bay Captain Luis Mulet Sar said that, unlike land operations, fishing vessels cannot simply be reconfigured – some permanent changes need to be done.
“The exercise will be costly, but it has to be done as we have to adjust to the new normal. Some of the changes that we have done include installing a temperature scanner at the vessel entrance, enforcing social distancing on vessels, screening the crew twice a day, and providing cleaners on the vessel with disposable protective clothing,” he said.

Major risk areas such as rails will from now be cleaned three times a day, as opposed to once a day before. Showers will also be sanitised daily with alcohol-based sanitisers in addition to disinfectants, while one cabin will now be dedicated as an isolation room in the event of any suspected cases. In the past, there was no need for a sickbay on the vessel, as sick crew would normally be transferred to other vessels that are returning to land.

Based on all these preparations, the MFV Pemba Bay returned to fishing grounds this week with the same crew that returned last Sunday after spending four weeks at sea. The decision to use the same crew is because the crew were already in self-quarantine and had no contact with outsiders while at sea.

“We want to wish all our seagoing personal a safe and healthy stay at sea and remind them to always adhere to Covid-19 control measures for their own protection,” Helao concluded.

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