Health authorities in Seychelles are working with local shipping agencies to vaccinate foreign seafarers on vessels fishing in the island nation’s waters, said a top official.
The decision came after two seafarers, a Malagasy and an Indonesian, died from COVID-19 last month. The two were from the Belle Isle tuna fishing vessel belonging to Reunion-based Sapmer company.
The deaths of the seafarers in late March were the first among foreign crew members fishing in the waters of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
According to the Reunion la 1ere news service on Monday, the two sailors “felt the first symptoms of the disease while on board the tuna purse seiner. They were then transferred last week to an intensive care unit at Mahe hospital. Unfortunately, however, the two men did not survive. The 35 other sailors on board the Belle Isle have all tested positive for Covid-19. They were therefore placed in solitary confinement.”
The chief executive of the Seychelles Health Care Agency, Danny Louange, told SNA on Wednesday that local health authorities are working on a plan to vaccinate the seafarers.
The general manager of shipping and logistics of the Hunt Deltel company, Ronny Matatiken, told SNA that all local companies have been working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that all foreign seafarers based in Seychelles are vaccinated.
“Fisheries is the one industry that is supporting the economy right now so we need to ensure that this is maintained and it is fitting that the crew who are based in Seychelles are in good health,” he said.
“There is no point in vaccinating stevedores and workers of all the respective agencies and then seafarers are not vaccinated,” added Matatiken.
He confirmed that all the local shipping agencies have been affected by the pandemic and have seafarers who have been quarantined.
In June last year, more than 120 seafarers mostly from five West African countries — Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana — tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Seychelles for a crew change for 26 Spanish tuna fishing vessels in June.
In the last update given by the health authorities in a press conference last week, Seychelles had recorded 4,259 cases and 24 deaths.

Source: Seychelles News Agency