Customs has today confirmed that the required plans are in place for the return of the fishing vessel Viking Bay to New Zealand in a safe and coordinated way.
The vessel, which is carrying 20 people on board, including two crew members that tested positive for COVID-19, is to dock at the Queens Wharf in Wellington on Monday.
The All-of-Government response team has worked closely with the shipping agent and stakeholders, including CentrePort and Wellington City Council, to ensure that the health, transportation, and security plans are in place with minimal risk to the public.
Perimeter fencing will cordon off the area where the Viking Bay will dock to remove public access, with the authorities stepping up security at the wharf and on-water patrols.
All 20 crew members will undergo a comprehensive health check, including testing, on arrival. Most of them will then be transported securely to a Managed Isolation and Quarantine facility to complete at least 14 days in managed isolation.
A small number of crew will complete their isolation period on board to meet the maritime safety requirements.
Customs’ Group Manager Maritime Stephen Waugh says the process will carry very low public health risk.
“The crew will be transported at a time that will minimise the risk of coming into contact with members of the public,” he says.
“Customs will maintain presence at the port throughout the operation, with the support of additional security personnel, and the Police Maritime Unit maintaining watch over the water.”
All Government and CentrePort staff that interact with the vessel or crew are vaccinated, and will work in line with health and safety protocols including IPC and PPE requirements.
Daily health checks will be carried out for the crew members that remain on board, and the vessel will undergo a deep clean at the end of the 14 day isolation period.