WALVIS BAY - Some fishing companies are preparing to return to the fishing grounds after the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources lifted the ban on vessel operations last week.
As a result, the Walvis Bay based Seacope Freezer Fishing deemed it necessary to provide training to their 56 crew working on board the Pemba Bay vessel that returned to the fishing grounds last week.
The crew were trained on how to detect and identify Covid-19 symptoms as well as preventative measures on board the vessel as well as during offloading processes.
Human resource consultant Annastasia Helao explained that the company has done all the necessary coronavirus awareness training for its crew members, seeing that the fishing industry is one of the important economic sectors in the country.
She added that the same crew returned a week ago after spending four weeks at sea and that the decision to use the same crew was made on the basis that they were already in self-quarantine and had no contact with outsiders while at sea. “The government considered the importance of our industry in our economy and that is why we took the initiative to train our crew. The training is in line with the Covid-19 labour ministry directives that were introduced by the government on 20 April to which we all must abide and safeguard the health and safety of our employees and equally produce a product that is safe amidst the situation we have found ourselves in. This is not only important to the company but to the nation as well,” she explained.
The Pemba Bay vessel captain Luis Mulet Sar added that unlike land operations, fishing vessels cannot just be reconfigured, but some permanent changes needed to be done to the operations.
“The exercise will be costly, but it has to be done as we have to adjust to the new normal. Some of the changes that we have done include, installing a temperature scanner at vessel entrance, enforcing social distancing on the vessels, screening the crew twice a day, providing cleaners on the vessel with disposable protective clothing,” he added.
According to him, major risk areas such as rails will be cleaned at least three times a day, as opposed to once a day before, while showers will be sanitised daily with alcohol-based sanitisers in addition to the disinfectants.
“One cabin will now also be dedicated as an isolation room in the event of any suspected cases on board,” he said.