Second foreign crew member tests positive

15 July 2020 | Fishing

Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) said that another Covid-19 positive case was detected amongst the 60 specialist crew members who arrived in the country as part of a Horse Mackerel fishing industry foreign crew change.

EME said today that it had received all the Covid-19 test results for its specialist foreign crew members, and thus know each one’s status.

The company said that of the 60 specialist crew members tested and quarantined on the company’s two vessels, two have tested positive.

The first positive case was reported to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) on 13 July 2020, and the second case today, 15 July 2020.

According to the company, both Covid-19 positive cases are from the same vessel, leaving a second EME horse mackerel freezer trawler completely Covid-19 free.

According to the company, both persons remain asymptomatic and in a healthy condition. They are currently being kept in isolation in separate cabins on the company’s affected vessel where their health status is constantly monitored by a medical officer on board.

Namibian crew members of EME are currently in quarantine at three separate MoHSS approved land-based facilities. They will also be tested and no fishing operations will continue until the Namibian and foreign crew members are all declared Covid-19 free.

EME managing director Dr Martha Uumati said that both vessels being operated by the company have been berthed since 22 June, after the company intervened and stopped fishing operations.

“The specialist foreign crew members that were on-board the company’s vessels had been working far beyond their original contracts due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“Although the foreign crew only make up 30% of the total crew complement, these foreign specialists are critical for the safe operation of our Russian-built vessels. Without them we will not be able to go out to sea, which ultimately results in our Namibian crew not being able to work and earn a living. It was essential that we bring in a fresh crew,” she said.

Uumati reiterated the company’s commitment to the strict implementation of all Covid-19 safety and precautionary measures to safeguard the health of all crew.

She said that screening of all EME crew will continue twice per day and all health and safety protocols will be strictly adhered to as per the EME Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures.

The MoHSS also has unhindered access to both company vessels for compliance inspections.

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