Why would these people have to spend an extra 14 days at sea?
The 100% Kiwi crew of the NZ based ship MMA Vision managed by Taranaki based company Kingston offshore has been denied an exemption to avoid MIQ today after having already been isolated at sea for 18 days.
The MMA Vision has been undertaking survey work of the sea floor for the new Southern cross cable. When completed the submarine cable will double New Zealand’s internet capacity.
The 18 crew members all undertook PCR tests and received negative results before boarding in Auckland over two weeks ago, they then travelled to 150km east of Lord Howe island, just past the Kermadec rise in the middle of the Tasman sea, to undertake their surveying work.
On their return trip to New Plymouth the vessel has been advised that although they have not been to another country or even sighted another island since leaving, because they left our EEZ (Economic exclusion zone) they are now required to complete a 14 day isolation period onboard the vessel in New Zealand waters before they are allowed to come ashore.
The only way this would be even more stupid would be if the seafarers were taking up scarce MIQ rooms.
Once this period of isolation has been completed it will be 32 days since the crew of the MMA Vision last stood on solid ground.
Kingston Offshore applied for an exemption and the New Plymouth DHB have conducted a risk assessment and agreed that the risk is low, and exemption should be granted, however The Ministry of Health have decided to decline the application for exemption citing safety concerns.
Safety for whom? It’s certainly not safe for the mental health of the seafarers.
However the Government did not cite any safety concerns when 23 crew from the Interisland ferry Aratere was granted a full exemption from MIQ after being in drydock in Sydney this month. Allowing the entire crew to walk off the vessel straight into Wellington after a 12 day trip.
Questions need to be asked here about rules.
For the 18 crew onboard the MMA Vision it seems there is one rule for private companies, and another for Government owned companies
The decision from the MOH gets even more absurd if you consider If the MMA Vision had not crossed an imaginary line (the EEZ) they would not have had to complete any isolation, and been free to return home to their families.
Once again New Zealand Seafarers are not being given a fair go by the New Zealand government.
How can people who have been at sea for 18 days with no contact with any other people pose a risk when those at sea for 12 days don’t?
How can these seafarers pose a greater risk than people with Covid-19 who are now permitted to self-isolate at home?
It’s rules for the sake of having rules which combine bureaucratic madness with inconsistency.