An agreement has been reached in America Samoa to speed up the off loading and loading of containers from the vessel Fesco Askgold which had three crew members who have tested positive for coronavirus.
Following a meeting between the Department of Health, Port Administration and representatives of the vessel, it has been agreed that local stevedores would now run the operation, which had previously been handled by the ship's crew so as to avoid possible contamination.
Epidemiologist Dr Aifili John Tufa said it was agreed in the meeting that the vessel's crew would remain in their quarters on board untl the loading and unloading of containers was completed.
All stevedores involved with the Fesco Askold operation would not go home, but instead would be housed at a Department of Health designated facility.
Once all inbound containers are removed and containers headed for the US are loaded, the stevedores will be quarantined and tested on a later date before being released.
The General Manager of Maritime Stevedoring, Gary Walters, said operation was progressing slowly, but safely.
The normal turnaround for a vessel the size of the Fesco Askold takes around two to three days.
Meanwhile all 14 people quarantined after the cases were announced have tested negative.
They were placed in quarantine after having contact with the crew of the Fesco Askold.
The health workers and harbour pilots are in the Department of Health quarantine facility in Tafuna and are to stay there for another week.