by Ester Mbathera

ONE of the foreign fishing crew members on one of Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) vessels, who is part of the group that landed in Namibia on Friday, 10 July, tested positive for Covid-19.

Specialised foreign fishing crew members who arrived in Namibia last Friday to work on vessels. Photo: File

EME managing director Martha Uumati confirmed that the ministry of health had informed her about the test result this morning.

“The person remains asymptomatic and in a healthy condition and is currently being kept in isolation in a separate cabin on the affected vessel. This is currently the safest place to ensure the situation remains under control and that no possible infection of Namibian community or EME’s Namibian crew takes place,” said Uumati.

She further stressed that as part of the company’s precautionary measures, there were and still are no Namibians on board any of the company’s vessels.

“This is exactly why Erongo Marine Enterprises took the extra precautionary measure of testing all our specialist foreign crew members upon arrival in Namibia again as they were on the crew change flight with other crew members, passing through airports and many other points of contact where they could have been exposed to the virus,” Uumati said.

According to Uumati all the 60 EME specialist foreign crew members were tested in their country of origin before their departure and all the test results were negative at the time. Prior to the crew change, the Namibian crew disembarked the vessels and were moved to three land-based quarantine facilities.

According to Uumati fishing operations will only resume once all crews, foreign and Namibian, have been certified as Covid-19 free.

The EME foreign crew are currently quarantined on the company’s two freezer trawlers, the MFV Desert Ruby and MFV Desert Jewel.

The foreign crew change was necessitated by the fact that the foreign crew members that were on board the company’s vessels had been working far beyond their original contracts due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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