Bulk carrier Atlantic Huron remains berthed in Thunder Bay after crew members test positive for COVID-19
Relief crew being brought on board, ship expected to leave city this week
A bulk carrier is expected to leave Thunder Bay with a relief crew this week, after its original crew were forced to quarantine on April 9 due to COVID-19 infections.
Eighteen of the 25 crew members aboard the Atlantic Huron tested positive for the virus on April 8, the ship's owner, Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) said in a statement provided to CBC News.
The ship's crew were put in quarantine in a Thunder Bay hotel the next day — there was no contact between any crew member and members of the Thunder Bay community, CSL said — and the ship remains berthed at a secure location in the city.
CSL said a two-day disinfection of the ship has been completed, and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit has given the company permission to bring a relief crew on board.
The ship is expected to leave Thunder Bay this week, and continue its voyage to Quebec City.
CSL said how, exactly, crew members caught the virus is under investigation.
"Prior to boarding M/V Atlantic Huron or any CSL vessel, seafarers are pre-screened for COVID-19," the company said. "Once approved for boarding, they are instructed by CSL to follow strict health and safety protocols when traveling to the ship and provided with personal protection equipment including face masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer."
"Once on board the vessel, they must undergo a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test administered by a health professional and practice social distancing for 14 days."
In the case of the Atlantic Huron, CSL said all crew members were on board the vessel while it was berthed in Sarnia on March 31, and all tested negative for COVID-19 on April 1.
The ship departed Sarnia on April 2.
CSL said it isn't aware of any breach of its pre-boarding, or onboard, COVID-19 protocols, and is working with health officials to determine the cause of transmission.