A SECOND member of a foreign crew for a fishing vessels were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Walvis Bay and were placed in isolation aboard a fishing vessel at anchorage.
The man is part of group of specialist crew members that were brought in by Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) at the start of the weekend.
According to a statement issued by the Managing Director of Erongo Marine Enterprises, Dr. Martha Uumati of the 60 specialist crew members tested and quarantined on the company’s two vessels, only two tested positive. The first positive case was reported to the Ministry of Health and Social Services on Monday and the second case formed part of the 96 new cases registered in Namibia on Wednesday.
“Both Covid-19 positive cases are from the same vessel, leaving EME’s second Horse Mackerel freezer trawler hundred percent Covid-19 free,” Dr. Uumati said.
She said both persons are asymptomatic and in a healthy condition and are currently being kept in isolation in separate cabins on the company’s affected vessel where their health status are constantly monitored by a medical officer on board.
The Namibian crew is currently being kept in quarantine will also be tested.
“No fishing operations will continue until the crew of the respective vessels, Namibian and foreign, are declared Covid-19 free,” she said and added: “Both our vessels have been tied up since the 22nd of June after the company intervened and stopped fishing operations.”
She explained that the specialist foreign crew members that were onboard 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 result 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.
Dr. Uumati said that the screening of all EME crew will continue to be conducted twice daily and all health and safety protocols strictly adhered to.