Coronavirus: Two test positive on quarantined ship in Bluff

Bluff's South Port.
Bluff's South Port. Photo credit: Getty Images

Two crew members on board a container ship currently quarantined in Bluff have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Mattina, a Marshall Island-flagged vessel, came into port on Sunday night and all 21 crew members were tested on Monday morning. Rapid tests were ordered for the two symptomatic cases.

"Health officials report their condition is regarded as improving," the Ministry of Health says. "The test results for the remainder of the crew are due back later tonight."

Both crew members who have tested positive joined the ship in Singapore on July 2 after giving negative pre-departure tests.

Health officials in the Southern DHB are working with other agencies to determine the next steps for the ship. The crew members are remaining on board in the meantime.

The Ministry of Health says the Mattina is currently in quarantine in a secure area of the port that is inaccessible to any members of the public and fencing will be put up to further restrict access to the ship.

"Health officials are currently working to determine the workplace activity of the harbour pilot who guided Mattina into port last night , and any potential contact with crew members," they say.

"As a border worker, this harbour pilot was wearing full PPE and is subject to the normal schedule of testing for border staff.

"No one else has been on or off the ship since it docked. This morning's testing for COVID-19 took place on the gangway area and all appropriate protocols were followed by public health staff, including PPE."

This is the third ship that's came into a New Zealand port recently that's had COVID-infected mariners on board.

The first is the Playa Zahara fishing vessel that docked at Lyttelton Port on Sunday. Almost all the crew were transported to managed isolation and quarantine facilities in Christchurch. The second is Viking Bay, which is quarantined at Queens Wharf in Wellington. Many of its crew have been moved to quarantine facilities in Wellington.