7 Nov 2020

Fishing crew released after Covid outbreak in Christchurch hotel

11:47 am on 7 November 2020

Most of the Sealord crew members in a Christchurch managed isolation facility for Covid-19 have been released this morning.

Sealord general manager of operations, Doug Paulin.

Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Thirty-one members of a group of 237 Russian and Ukranian seafarers tested positive for Covid-19 during their stay in managed isolation at the Sudima Hotel in Christchurch. Sealord is one of the three companies which bought the crew into the country to work on its deep-sea trawlers.

Two healthcare workers at the hotel caught the virus and are considered community cases, as they have not been overseas.

A steady stream of people have been tested for Covid-19 in Christchurch after the two community cases were reported.

Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin said 69 of the crew members working for his company were now in Nelson and on board ships.

Two Sealord crew members will stay in isolation for another eight days, because they are considered to be close contacts of positive cases.

Paulin said the crew on its second boat will have their shore leave cancelled for seven days in order to provide reassurance to the public.

About 200 crew members were due to arrive in New Zealand from Moscow on Monday, but had been delayed, he said.

"All of those crew had to use accommodation in Moscow before leaving," Paulin said.

"That obviously becomes a place and a time when they're at greater risk.

"We've looked to get rid of that day and make sure they continue to follow all the protocols."

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