Seven more cases on Bluff ship

Seven more positive cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed on board the container ship Mattina in Bluff, bringing the total number of cases to nine.

The pilot who boarded the vessel however was no longer considered to be a close contact of the infected crew.

A Ministry of Health statement confirmed the additional cases yesterday morning after test results for the crew members were received late on Monday night.

Two cases were previously revealed on Monday after rapid testing on symptomatic crew members came back positive.

Eight of the nine positive cases are symptomatic, and come from a total crew of 21 people.

Mattina is quarantined in an area of the port inaccessible to the public and additional fencing has been erected to further restrict public access to the area.

No crew members have come ashore, and the only South Port employee to board the vessel was a harbour pilot, who guided it into port.

The pilot, who has been self-isolating, came into contact with three crew members while aboard the vessel.

These three crew members all returned negative tests, meaning the pilot is no longer considered a close contact and can leave isolation.

It is mandatory for a pilot to board a ship of this size when berthing, and the pilot in this case was fully vaccinated and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Health officials will continue to monitor the crew daily, and will continue to work to decide the next steps for the crew and ship.

Two other ships in New Zealand waters have had outbreaks of coronavirus this month.

Sixteen crew members of the deep-sea fishing vessel Viking Bay, docked in Wellington, received positive tests and were transferred to a local managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility. The remaining four crew members are isolating on board the ship.

The fishing ship Playa Zahara had 16 of 18 crew test positive, and travelled from Port Taranaki to Lyttelton Port, which was considered better able to offer an appropriate level of support.

Thirteen of the infected crew transferred to a Christchurch MIQ facility, and the remaining five remained on board the ship.

  • There were six new cases of Covid-19 reported in managed isolation facilities yesterday.

andrew.marshall@odt.co.nz

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