Spanish news is reporting that a crew member from the Guardeses Longliners Organization (Orpagu) fishing vessel, the ‘Ribel Tercero’, was medevaced from his ship on Wednesday, 8 April 2020.
The medevac took place 1,000 nautical miles from the port of Vigo in the north of Spain when the sailor was evacuated by the hospital ship ‘Esperanza del Mar’, and was later admitted to Povisa Hospital in Vigo with suspected COVID-19 symptoms.
Later, in hospital, the crewman tested positive for COVID-19.
The rest of the ship’s crew was also tested when the ‘Ribel Tererco’ docked in the city on Friday, 10 April after spending fifteen-days at sea with the infected crew member.
The hospital ship, ‘Esperanza del Mar’, was heading to provide health care to the Galician fishing fleet in the North Atlantic, deviated its course after receiving the alert message from the Ribel Tercero near the Azores. The ‘Esperanza del Mar’ returned to Vigo with the crewman and was later totally disinfected and returned to sea to complete its mission.
The skipper of the vessel made the decision to evacuate the crewman once it became a concern that he was displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Although it was only a few days before reaching land, he released a medical emergency notice to get the crewman evacuated. The rest of the crew will now be subject to quarantine regulations.
“The situation experienced with the ‘Ribel Tercero’ shows the urgent need for a protocol of action for this type of case; Our organisation regrets the lack of measures to deal with an event that will undoubtedly be repeated,” Orpagu said.
The sector, in addition, points out the contradiction that exists between being recognised as an essential activity to guarantee the population quality food, an endorsement publicly confirmed by Minister Luis Planas, and the helplessness with which they are when it comes to work without the relevant safety measures.
Various fishing organisations have demanded that all crew be tested before boarding to avoid situations such as that experienced on board the ‘Ribel Tercero’ by the high risk of contagion among workers, who work together in very small spaces.
An approved company has taken care of the disinfection of the boat.