Previously Blocked Container Vessel Given the Green Light Under Strict Conditions

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The cargo freighter MV Island Chief postponed from entering Samoa following the positive COVID test results of two of its crew members in Fiji, has been given the green light to travel to Samoa.

National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) Chairman Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo has given the approval under a strict set of conditions to be closely monitored as are all vessels that have entered Samoa since the country went into Covid-19 lockdown.

The vessel will arrive without the two positively tested crew members who will remain under quarantine in Fiji.

The sailors had originally been tested in Fiji in early December because of Samoa’s border control requirements – ie for all crew members of cargo ships to present current negative test results before entering.

The NEOC says Samoa’s regulations for clearance would need to be satisfied to the letter before the vessel can be allowed to dock in Apia, to offload cargo of food supplies and other imports.

Responding to inquiries from the Samoa Observer newspaper, the NEOC Chairman issued a statement to clarify that the decision comes after the remaining 10 crew members of MV Island Chief have been repeatedly tested and retested for Covid19; with results returning negative.

Agafili says the NEOC’s decision to allow the container ship to travel to Samoa follows constant discussion between the major parties involved including SPA and MoH, the ship’s agent and Fiji’s Health Ministry.

“The boat is expected to arrive at Matautu wharf early this week and all our health requirements apply such as a medical clearance and  a negative COVID test for all the crew members”.

“The protocol for entering our borders will be strictly applied as per COVID 19 protection process”.

The head of Samoas NEOC says the team assigned to service the boat will be in full PPE, masks and gloves including the stevedoring service providers.