Precautions in place at port, boss says

Port Otago workers Michelle Simpson and Andrew Jennings show how a temperature check, one of the...
Port Otago workers Michelle Simpson and Andrew Jennings show how a temperature check, one of the measures in place at the port, is done. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Port Otago says the New Zealand Customs Service is now managing border control and the likelihood of foreign ship workers being allowed on to shore is extremely low.

Chief executive Kevin Winders said the port found it easy to bring back ways to work under Alert Level 2: temperature checks of staff, high personal hygiene standards and social distancing were all now in practice.

A customs officer was now at the port, observing any ships that came in, he said.

"As per the order of a couple of weeks ago ... [NZ Customs] is now in control of border control at ports."

The port required disclosures from ship masters to ensure there were no people with symptoms on board and that they had been at sea for longer than 28 days.

"If they tick all those boxes, which is rare in this area, the ship’s crew’s allowed off.

"The chance of having a ship’s crew wandering up the main street is extremely low."

Port staff and ship crews always interacted, as port pilots needed to board the ships.

"The pilots have been using masks and physical distancing.

"That’s clearly been in place for a long time and will remain in place and effectively our ships when they’re at ports — our cargo handlers that have to go on board the ship use physical separation to stay well clear of the crew."

Mr Winders said crews were "awfully cautious" about keeping physical distancing from port staff because they did not want to risk getting Covid-19 on board.

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