22 Jul 2021

'Risk is being minimised' - Canadian navy crew allowed shore leave

9:39 am on 22 July 2021

Questions are being asked about why more than 250 Canadian sailors will be allowed shore leave from their navy frigate without having to go through managed isolation.

HMCS Calgary

The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Calgary. Photo: NZDF

The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Calgary will visit Auckland in early August, in the first visit by a foreign military ship since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

The Defence Force said almost all the personnel on board had been vaccinated and by the time they reached New Zealand would have been at sea for 17 days - three days longer than the 14-day isolation period required by the New Zealand government.

The crew would not be able to disembark until they have all returned negative Covid-19 tests and had been symptom-free for 14 days.

Navy chief of staff Captain Shane Arndell said the navy was following all the requirements of the Maritime Border Order.

Arndell said the ship docked more than 25 days ago in the Middle East. Since then it had a contactless visit at Townsville, Australia, where provisions and stores were brought on board without the crew having contact with other people.

Arndell said he understood the concerns of an Airbnb host who told Newshub they were unhappy about a booking by a crew member.

"But again, we are following the Maritime Border Order guidelines that have been set, so the risk has been minimised as much as possible by following the guidelines that are in place for any ship visiting New Zealand," he said.

"This visit demonstrates the strong relationship between New Zealand and Canada," Arndells said. The countries worked together in the Pacific, and Canada had hosted the New Zealand navy for the last two years while its frigates were going through upgrades.

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