Eighty-six crew members aboard the American Dynasty have tested positive for Covid-19 during a 15-day fishing trip for hake in North Pacific waters. Results are pending for nine other outstanding tests as the moored fish catching, processing and freezer trawler is under lockdown and quarantine in Seattle, Washington.
Prior to setting out to sea, all 124 crew were first quarantined for a minimum of five days. They were screened for signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and tested for antibodies and viral infection, according to American Seafoods, which is one of the largest harvesters of fish in the world.
“Only if there were no signs that they were actively infected or contagious were they cleared to board the vessel. The health and safety of our crew, employees, and the communities where we operate is always the top priority for us,” said Mikel Durham, chief executive officer of the Seattle and Dutch Harbor, Alaska-based company.
It was reported that on May 26 one member of the factory staff in the fish processing and packaging are revealed symptoms of the virus, and two days later tested positive. He was admitted to a hospital in Bellingham, Washington, approximately 90 miles north of Seattle.
Noting that American Seafoods is cooperating with the US Coast Guard, the CDC, the Seattle/King County Health Department, Whatcom County Health Department, and the Port of Seattle, Durham stated: “The crew has access to any required medical care, and we are thrilled with the support that the agencies we are working with have provided. We have also put in place preparedness procedures in the event of a virus outbreak. Those plans are being fully executed right now.”
American Seafoods maintains a fleet of six vessels that use leading-edge technology to fish for a variety of species in sustainably managed fisheries of the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. The 272-foot, 8,000 hp American Dynasty is a two-level processor with capacity for 1,100 metric tons of frozen cargo. It is registered to harvest Pacific Whiting (Hake) and Pollock, and also catches Yellowfin Sole and Pacific Cod.
Crew members aboard the American Dynasty factory trawler process, package, and freeze products at sea ranging from whole fillet and minced fillet blocks to surimi and roe. Each vessel in the fleet is equipped with an isolation room and medical equipment appropriate for a Covid-19 response, and has a plan to mitigate the impact of any potential illness and ensure that on-board personnel receive appropriate care in the event of an infection or other health emergency.