October 22, 2020
Sealord crew COVID outbreak shows system working
Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin is confident most of its Russian and Ukranian crew will get through managed isolation without contracting COVID-19.
Health officials are dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus at the Christchurch isolation facility where 11 seamen tested positive yesterday and another 14 cases were under investigation.
A total of 440 fishermen working for three companies were staying at the Sudima Hotel, and officials were looking at moving some to another facility was sharing a room.
Mr Paulin says he has talked with some of the crew, some of whom have been deepwater fishing in New Zealand for more than 20 years, and they’re happy everything is being done to keep them, and New Zealanders, safe.
"When the Ministry of Health okayed for us to change our crews it was done in the belief our border protections were at a level there would be no or minimal risk of community outbreak of COVID-19 as a result. I would say what is happening now is exactly what should happen – the quarantine facilities are picking up COVID-19 and then they are dealing with it," he says.
Doug Paulin says only two of Sealord’s nine vessels are now crewed by predominantly foreign workers, and the intention is they will eventually all be crewed from New Zealand.
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