Ports of Auckland offers quarantine anchorage to ship with Covid-19 cases

Source: 1News

The Ports of Auckland has today offered quarantine anchorage to a ship carrying two fishermen infected with Covid-19, as more crew members come down with symptoms of coronavirus.

The Viking Bay signed on two infected crew who'd flown to Auckland on Monday and were then driven to join the ship in New Plymouth.

The Viking Bay was believed to have been left in international waters after two of the nine sailors on board the vessel tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. One of the infected mariners was today diagnosed with the more infectious Delta variant.

The crew - who were not required to quarantine - arrived in Auckland on Monday, and were immediately transported to New Plymouth to board a deep sea fishing vessel.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said the ship would return to Port Taranaki before moving on to a managed isolation facility, but the move was rejected by Port Taranaki amid health concerns for staff involved. 

The Viking Bay is now likely heading to Auckland. 

"If the vessel comes to Auckland it would not berth in the port but would go to one of the two quarantine anchorages available in Auckland," a Ports of Auckland spokesperson told 1 NEWS.

A New Zealand Customs spokesperson said the agency is working closely with the Ministry of Health, MIQ and Immigration New Zealand on the "next steps for the vessel".

"While we have no ability to make a port take a vessel, we are talking to the vessel’s shipping agents to try and assist them in finding a place to dock," the spokesperson said.

"The mariners have advised Health that a number of crew have symptoms."