14 Jul 2021

Another Viking Bay crew member moved to Wellington MIQ facility

2:33 pm on 14 July 2021

One of the five remaining crew on the quarantined fishing vessel Viking Bay was last night transferred to an onshore quarantine facility in Wellington after becoming unwell.

The Viking Bay ship approaching Queen's Wharf in Wellington

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The crew member had previously returned a negative Covid-19 test, the Ministry of Health said in its daily update.

The crew member will receive another Covid-19 test today with the results expected to be known late today, the ministry said.

The ministry said the transfer of the crew member was done with the appropriate precautions in place and following advice from the local regional public health service.

Sixteen Viking Bay crew have now been transferred to an onshore quarantine facility.

The four remaining crew members aboard the Viking Bay, who have returned negative test results to date, are expected to undergo Covid-19 testing as per the normal sequence for close contacts of a case, the ministry said.

Genome sequencing from 12 of the crew aboard the Viking Bay shows they all have the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The results demonstrate the variants are all linked, though these cases are not genomically linked to the first case on the vessel, which also had the Delta variant.

None of the current cases are linked to any other confirmed cases in New Zealand, the ministry said.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has advised that the Viking Bay crew members are in rooms by themselves on separate floors, and have their own fresh air and smoking areas, and a separate lift to move in while at the quarantine facility.

The vessel's owner and agent has provided a dispensation to the vessel to have only four crew on board to meet minimum safety requirements. Contingency planning is underway for any further changes in crew numbers.

Port authorities, and the shipping agent, advise the Ministry of Health that ongoing maintenance of the vessel will be undertaken while it is berthed in Wellington. The required maintenance does not require anyone to go onboard.

Update on the Playa Zahara

The All of Government response confirmed the Spanish flagged shipping vessel the Playa Zahara applied for permission for a change of crew at Port Taranaki.

There have been reports of a flu-like illness on board the ship which is now based offshore, but as of 10am this morning, there was only one crew member who was still symptomatic, the ministry said.

Health authorities have tested the ship's crew members for Covid-19 and are awaiting results.

Further public health measures will be decided based on those results, the Health Ministry said.

The one crew member who remains symptomatic has returned an indeterminate result and will therefore remain under investigation.

If the results show there is no evidence of Covid-19 onboard, then the vessel will be granted pratique for a crew change. Health authorities have assessed this situation as having a low risk to public health.

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