Shipping bubbles could prevent Covid-19 from entering New Zealand – Maritime Union
The Maritime Union is launching the idea of an “ocean” maritime bubble to protect against Covid-19, after a third ship riddled with coronavrius docked in New Zealand.
Nine infected crew members isolate themselves aboard the Mattine to Bluff. It is the third ship to dock in New Zealand after the crew tested positive for the virus.
Mattine, a container ship from Indonesia, had recently docked in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Maritime Union National Secretary Craig Harrison said it might be time to rethink port border measures.
He said The first standing putting rules around a shipping bubble with certain countries and making sure everyone is vaccinated could keep the virus at bay.
He said hundreds of ships had gone to the country since the pandemic began, but there had been no incidents like the recent ones.
Crew of ships flying the Spanish flag Viking Bay and Playa zahara also tested positive for the virus last week. They are picked up in Wellington and Christchurch respectively.
“With the way the virus is moving now, becoming more contagious, perhaps we should revisit our measures and see if we need to do a little more to manage the risk as the pandemic continues to spread.”
Harrison said the government has the right to ask international shipping companies – especially big ones like Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and COSCO – to dock here if their crews are vaccinated and regularly tested.
“Imagine if we hadn’t caught them and they decided to go to one of our Pacific neighbors, the tragic impact that would have. We did the right thing and attracted them, but the risk is still there. “
He said the governments the ships came from should also be asked about mitigation measures, vaccinations and routine testing.
“The question is, why are these vessels here fishing anyway to begin with? We shouldn’t be seen as an easy touch.”
Harrison said the shipping companies were making millions of dollars and it had to be wondered why the crew had not been vaccinated.
In Australia, another ship that left Indonesia, the BBC California the ship docked at Fremantle after the crew tested positive for Covid-19.
Of the 14 people on board, 10 are infected.
the BBC California the crew will remain on the isolated ship in their rooms until further notice.
-RNZ / ABC