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Two-Thirds of Factory Trawler's Crew Catch COVID-19

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American Dynasty (file image courtesy Ulstein)

By The Maritime Executive 06-02-2020 07:07:45

Concerns of coronavirus outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest fishing fleet gained new currency this week with multiple infections aboard the factory trawler American Dynasty. 86 out of the 124 crewmembers aboard the vessel have tested positive for COVID-19, according to operator American Seafoods. 

In a statement, American Seafoods said that all of the American Dynasty's crewmembers were tested for COVID-19 before departure, and all of those who sailed tested negative. When the vessel docked in Bellingham to off-load on May 26, one crewmember reported symptoms and was taken ashore to be evaluated. The individual tested positive for COVID-19 and is now recovering. The firm decided to re-test the entire crew while the vessel was at the dock, and on May 30 it learned that 85 more crewmembers tested positive. The results are pending for nine additional tests. ??

American Dynasty has now returned to Seattle and is in lockdown. All of her crewmembers are being placed into quarantine and are under medical monitoring, American Seafoods said. The firm says that it has received support and assistance from multiple government agencies in addressing the outbreak. “American Seafoods is cooperating with the U.S. Coast Guard, the CDC, the Seattle/King County Health Department, Whatcom County Health Department, and the Port of Seattle,” said CEO Mikel Durham. 

Bellingham Cold Storage, the facility where American Dynasty offloaded her catch, has initiated its pre-planned COVID-19 response protocol. The firm implemented a two-hour industrial ozone disinfection treatement, then conducted a disinfectant wipedown of all of the spaces that were occupied by workers who had interacted with American Dynasty. Those individuals will undergo COVID-19 testing and their temperatures will be taken regularly for the next 14 days. As of Monday, none of the company's workers had developed symptoms, president Doug Thomas told the Bellingham Herald.