American Seafoods factory trawler returns to Seattle after 85 crew members test positive for COVID-19 – By Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) / June 1 2020
A Seattle-based factory trawler cut short its fishing season off the Washington coast after 85 of 126 crew tested positive for COVID-19 in screening results obtained Saturday, according to a statement released by American Seafoods, which operates the vessel.
The test results for the FV American Dynasty are a somber finding for the North Pacific fishing industry, which has been trying to keep the novel coronavirus off the ships and out of the shore-based plants that produce much of the nation’s seafood. The outbreak also underscores the toll coronavirus continues to take on the food processing industry across the nation. In Washington state, outbreaks in meat plants, fruit and vegetable fields and packing facilities prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to order new protections for agricultural and food processing workers.
As part of the effort to keep outbreaks from impacting the seafood industry, the American Dynasty crew, before heading off to sea May 13, were screened for the viral infection and underwent quarantines. They also underwent additional testing for the antibodies created by the virus.
“Only if there were no signs that they were actively infected or contagious were they cleared to board their vessel,” said American Seafoods chief executive Mikel Dunham, in a written statement.
Somehow, the virus still found its way on board.