Coronavirus in several Spanish fishing vessels delays departure to the Falklands squid season
Thursday, January 21, 2021, 19:00 (GMT + 9)
The departure of several fishing vessels scheduled to leave from Vigo, Galicia to the Falkland Islands' squid season, has been delayed because a few crew members tested positive for the coronavirus. Companies involved have undertaken the necessary and isolation measures, reports the local media.
According to the Vigo fishing industry, companies are complying “scrupulously” with sanitary protocols to ensure that embarking crews are negative to contagion. Controls have discovered some “thirty positive cases” of the coronavirus, mainly among foreign members who arrived in Vigo a few weeks ago to join the Falklands squid season.
Galician frozen trawler fleet in the port of Vigo | Photo: courtesy Faro de Vigo
The Galician Health Service, Sergas, reported that following protocols, crewmembers who arrive in Vigo are “ isolated” in hotels until the moment they embark, but denied to inform the number of cases since it involves private companies.
Nevertheless industry sources said that positive cases have been detected in at least five trawlers, and in one of them “eighteen” tested positive. However other vessels have left for the Falklands, after complying with the sanitary controls, isolation and testing to detect possible cases of contagion.
FIG statement on Galicia situation
“The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) has been working closely with FIFCA and the fishing companies to understand the extent of positive Covid-19 test results among vessels and crew currently in Spain. While some companies have reported positive cases, each has a set of Covid-19 policies and protocols in place to manage the situation. Spanish authorities do not permit vessels with positive cases aboard to leave the port and where a crew member tests positive, they are then immediately placed into onshore quarantine.
Additionally, all vessels are required to make health declarations to Customs and Immigration prior to arrival in Stanley and after 21-23 days spent sailing from Vigo. As most vessels will not arrive in the Falkland Islands until the weekend before the start of the season on 24 February, it is too early to estimate whether or not there will be any delays or undue impact on the start on the season. FIG appreciates the combined efforts of FIFCA and its partners in helping to manage and mitigate the risks associated with Covid-19, all of which demonstrate that they are doing everything that they can to help protect the Falkland Islands Community.”