Six of 23 crew members on board bulk carrier Vega Rose (IMO 9336866) anchored off metropolitan Vancouver, have tested positive for Covid-19, the Public Health Agency of Canada has reported.
Union officials said that vessel ended up stuck for several days at a container terminal in Delta after the first positive test came back. All of the affected crew members have been transferred to a federal quarantine site.
The captain of the Panama-registered ship began experiencing a sore throat and stomach pains shortly after arriving in British Columbia waters on September 2nd, according to a statement from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITWF) and internal memos from Westshore Terminals.
The captain tested positive for Covid-19 the next day. The federation said it was notified about the potential infections after the Vega Rose docked in Delta on September 3rd.
The Vega Rose, which is now anchored in Vancouver’s English Bay, was berthed at Deltaport for five days with a sealed gangway to prevent people from boarding or disembarking.
Rick Hurtubise, president of International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 502, said that two foremen had some limited contact with the vessel, but they wore full protective gear. Westshore Terminals worked with Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to move the vessel out of the terminal to English Bay.
Dock workers’ representatives say they are watching how the government handles the situation, which makes many port staff feel at risk given the transient nature of dock work and the close quarters for crew on board ships “If the infection hits the waterfront, it could go through our ranks rampant,” said Rob Ashton, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
A Westshore Terminals dock worker who was last on shift in Delta on September 1st had also tested positive for Covid-19, although the longshoremen’s union said that sanitization precautions meant there was a low risk of further infection.
2007-built, Panama-flagged, 30,847 gt Vega Rose is owned by Rosex Co Ltd care of manager Osaka Asahi Marine Transportation Co Ltd of Osaka, Japan. It is entered with Japan Club (Kobe Office in charge) on behalf of Rosex Co Ltd.