Two Covid-19 positive Mattina crew members return to ship after trip to hospital


The container ship Mattina is held up at the southern port of Bluff after nine of its 21 crew members tested positive for Covid-19.

Kavinda Herath / Tips

The container ship Mattina is held up at the southern port of Bluff after nine of its 21 crew members tested positive for Covid-19.

Two of the Covid-19 positive crew members aboard the Mattina have been transferred to Southland Hospital, but have now been returned to their ship.

The Department of Health announced on Wednesday that the two marinas had been transferred to hospital for evaluation.

The Marshall Islands-flagged container ship, which left Singapore on July 2 and last stopped in Australia at Fremantle between July 10 and 12, was detained at South Port this week after nine of its 21 crew members have tested positive for Covid-19.

The hospital’s acting general manager, Jo McLeod, said the two men had been assessed and did not need to be admitted.

The sailors were transported to hospital by the St. John Ambulance.

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“This was done in a carefully planned and coordinated manner, working with St John, Infection Prevention and Control, Southland Hospital Emergency Department and other hospital staff, under the direction of the physician- Southern DHB hygienist, ”McLeod said.

Plans are in place to relocate crew members to MIQ if this becomes a requirement.

According to the government-run isolation and quarantine website, the closest facilities are in Christchurch.

Health officials were in continuous communication with the captain of the Mattina and spoke to the entire crew at least daily to discuss their symptoms and well-being, McLeod said.

The crew were tested earlier this week after informing health officials before their arrival that two of their members were showing flu-like symptoms.

Both provided negative pre-departure tests.

A ministry official said on Tuesday that eight of the nine positive crew members were showing symptoms, but were well enough to stay on the ship.

Southland Hospital staff had plans and processes in place, in case one of the sailors needed a hospital assessment and Infection Prevention and Control staff visited all areas. areas of the hospital to ensure protocols were in place.

Starboard maritime intelligence

Tracking data from Starboard Maritime Intelligence shows how the Mattina’s Covid-19 risk level changed on her journey to New Zealand, via Singapore.

The ministry expects to have more information on the source of the infections when whole genome sequencing is completed in the coming days.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said a decision to move the crew to MIQ would be based on public health advice and would depend on health the crew and their sleeping conditions.

The Mattima is the third foreign ship to arrive in New Zealand carrying cases of Covid-19.

The Viking Bay fishing boat arrived in Wellington last Monday and 16 of its crew have tested positive and have been placed in managed isolation in the capital.

Of the four crew members who remained on board, three returned positive tests on Sunday.


Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Health Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield reiterated on Wednesday that around the world Covid-19 is still raging, with many countries experiencing a spike in cases .

On Sunday, the fishing vessel Playa Zahara also saw 13 of its 18 crew members transferred to a managed isolation facility in Christchurch, after docking at Lyttelton harbor.

The NZ Merchant Service Guild, the union that covers port pilots, has called for mandatory testing for all crews arriving in New Zealand – whether they plan to disembark or not – to protect port workers who have had to embark on their ships.

Hipkins said on Wednesday that this would not be possible for all ships, as they may not have the capacity to do so, and it would be easier to let them pass through the country.

Anyone crossing the sea border is required to complete 14 days of managed isolation in New Zealand upon arrival, he said.

New Zealand Maritime Union National Secretary Craig Harrison said a recent spike in Covid-19 cases among crew members overseas is cause for concern for port workers.

New, more virulent strains of Covid-19 posed a threat, he said, urging port workers to exercise extreme caution.

Global shipping companies should do more to ensure international crews are vaccinated and tested, Harrison said.

Talk to Thinghe asked, “What are these companies doing rather than weighing on New Zealand?” It’s amazing they don’t do more, really.