Factory trawler, at least 85 of 124 test positive for Covid-19



American Dynasty, original Sea Bure, OSV blt 1975 for Fred Olsen, Oslo:

Converted to Factory Trawler for American Seafood 1989:

Why does Norway build such disease-ridden vessels?


To sell them to gullible Americans of course!!!

PS> Actually American Seafood belonged to Kjell Inge Røkke at the time:


Actually the original vessel, Sea Bure, was built at an American yard for Fred Olsen in 1975.
Not much to be seen of that original OSV thought. (All that was needed at the time was a US Builders Certificate and abt 10% of the original hull)

This has a lot to do with how Discovery Health conducted the pre-boarding testing and validates my thoughts in the Covid-19 Screening thread that attempting exclusion is a waste of resources.

But it’s more fun to just blame Norway

From the story [bolding mine]
“…[the] crew, before heading off to sea May 13, were screened for the viral infection and underwent quarantines of at least five days. They also underwent additional testing for the antibodies created by the virus.”

The question is, were they quarantined for only five days? The standard for quarantining for Covid19 is 14 days, not five. So why is only “at least five days” mentioned? The incubation period of the virus is about five days, so five days by itself is not an effective quarantine.

It would be interesting if the results of a company investigation came out about this, to see how Patient Zero came to evade the screening. I’m not holding my breath.

The thing about screening is this:

  1. It is meant to minimize, not eliminate, the chance of infection on a vessel. If you operate 10 vessels it is far better to have zero vessels infected than one, but also 100% better to have one vessel infected rather than two.

  2. Screening depends entirely on the honesty and self-discipline of individual crew and workers on the vessel. The larger the size of the crew, the more likely it is to have a crew member who is less than honest about their lack of self-discipline in quarantining themselves.

  3. Because the statistical chance of a non-compliant crew member increases with the size of the crew, the length of the quarantine has to be commensurately longer, and stricter, for it to be effective. A very costly process for seafood operators, since it means hotel rooms, etc.

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Sad, but this comes at no surprise. That is an incredibly high number percentage wise.

are you sure its not a Swedish boat…lol

A few more details about the screening.

Not attempting exclusion.

The point of risk management is not to prevent failure, for that is impossible. The point is to have a plan ready to manage and control failure when it inevitably comes.

From here:

This may in fact be the real story of human and societal improvement. We talk a lot about “risk management”—a nice hygienic phrase. But in the end, risk is necessary. Things can and will go wrong . Yet some have a better capacity to prepare for the possibility, to limit the damage, and to sometimes even retrieve success from failure. - Atul Gawande

Yes, but resource management is an important part of risk management as I’m sure you’re aware. TANSTAAFL.
The resources used up in this charade for the insurance companies could have gone to:

  1. Properly screening arriving crew for individuals that had a higher chance of an ARDS reaction to COVID
  2. Repairing, replacing, and renewing equipment that is part of the myriad number of ways a man can be injured/killed on a fishing vessel.
  3. Hiring local crewmembers instead of importing them from poor countries, which is one of the reasons this particular company ended up having to do a 5 day quarantine as opposed to the 14 for some crew.

Someone in one of these threads outlined a plan to buy 6 RVs. Do you know the amount of risk you can reduce with the money from 6 RVs? Substantial.

More Covid on American Seafood’s trawlers…


It seems an interesting experiments played out in the hake fishery this year, RE: the effectiveness of quarantines. It seems that most fishing companies went with the advice of 14-days quarantines for workers before sailing. At least one company went with as little as 5-day quarantines. Both groups did Covid testing before fishing.

All these companies operate roughly the same way. The crews are all Americans. Many of the processing workers are from all around the world.

The company that did 5-day+ quarantines had three boats with Covid epidemics. I’m not accusing this company of doing something wrong. They had a good theory, and did their diligence, but not all theories prove to be correct.

I have not heard of epidemics on the boats of the 14-day quarantine companies. Of course, more data is needed, but the takeaway so far is that a 14-day self quarantine is very effective at preventing Covid from getting on a boat. Not totally effective, in the theoretical sense. But apparently more effective than a 5-day+ quarantine.

The essence of a valid experiment is repeatability. To prove the conclusion correct, this 14-day/5-day quarantine experiment would have to be repeated elsewhere.

But to put it in operational terms, the company with epidemics has sustained a financial loss. The other companies have not. An operating company ignoring this observation does so at its own peril.

Hopefully there will be a research paper written on this situation. The University of Washington worked with many of the 14-day quarantine companies, devising screening procedures in conjunction with the maritime medical advisory company Discovery Health. So it may be the UW will come out with a paper some time.

American Seafood refuse further Covid-19 screening:

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A fishing boat docked in Dutch Harbor with 85 COVID-19 cases. Now it’s headed for Seward.

By Hope McKenney, Alaska Public Media. July 19, 2020

The American Triumph, a 285-foot factory trawler with an onboard processing plant, sits Friday in the Port of Dutch Harbor. Over the weekend, staff from the local clinic tested its entire 119-person crew, and 85 were positive for COVID-19. More than two-thirds of the crew of a huge factory fishing vessel docked in the Aleutian fishing port of Dutch Harbor has tested positive for COVID-19, local authorities announced Sunday.

The 85 cases are on board the American Triumph, owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods — one of the biggest players in the billion-dollar Bering Sea pollock fishery.The Triumph arrived in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor on Thursday, with seven crew members reporting symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

All seven were tested for the virus upon arrival, and six of those tests came back positive, officials announced Friday. That prompted staff from Unalaska’s clinic, Iliuliuk Family and Health Services, to test the remaining 112 crew.All crew members were restricted to either the vessel or their isolation locations while in Unalaska, city officials said.

Chartered planes are in the process of flying the 34 crew members who tested negative for the virus from Unalaska to Anchorage to begin a period of quarantine and symptom monitoring, said City Manager Erin Reinders. Those who tested positive are receiving further medical screening from clinic staff.

The American Triumph, and its crew members who tested positive, are scheduled to depart Unalaska late Sunday or early Monday with American Seafoods medical support personnel on board. They’re scheduled to sail to Seward and arrive by Wednesday, when crew members will be moved directly to an isolation location in Anchorage for further care and monitoring. American Seafoods has brought in an “additional paramedic” to assist and monitor crew members during the sailing, and the vessel plans to hug the coast on its sailing to make it easier to evacuate sick people should that become necessary, said Melanee Tiura, chief executive of Unalaska’s clinic.

“All of that has been well thought out,” Tirua said. “There are exit strategies if that additional level of care is needed.” Clinic personnel are still assessing whether any of the crew members who tested positive are too sick to travel and if any of the sick individuals may need to stay in Unalaska.
Unalaska is the largest community in Alaska without a critical-access hospital, and the nearest emergency room is almost 1,000 miles away, in Anchorage. Unalaska’s clinic is the only healthcare facility on the island, with one part-time and four full-time providers living in the community, and four part-time providers that provide additional coverage as needed.

They serve anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 year-round residents and seasonal workers. Tiura said testing 119 people from the factory trawler took a toll on the healthcare resources of the island, but she added that Unalaska still has plenty of COVID-19 testing supplies at this time.“We’re a small facility,” Tiura said. “Our team was all hands on deck for the last couple of days. It’s certainly something we can recover from, and our team is in very good spirits. They’ve done an excellent job, as always.”

Reinders said the island and clinic are prepared and moving forward, and Unalaska’s Unified Command — a COVID-19 response team made up of healthcare officials, seafood industry and school district representatives, social service agencies, and the Qawalangin Tribe — has planned for similar situations.“We’ve got the relationships in place and plans in place,” Reinders said. “We’ve talked about this kind of thing before, and I think we have learned from our past experiences. I think we’re able to respond quite well to the situation. Obviously, we hope it doesn’t repeat itself, but we’ve got a good team.”

The American Triumph had been at sea since June 27, fishing both offshore from Washington and Oregon and then moving to Alaska to fish for pollock.

The seafood company runs six vessels that fish for pollock, hake and sole in both the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. It generated concern among Alaskans last month, after it announced more than 100 crew members on three of its vessels had tested positive for the virus in Washington, ahead of the summer fishing season in Alaska. At the time, experts questioned the company’s decision to mandate a more liberal five-day quarantine period, rather than the 14 days required for fishing companies operating in Alaska. No other companies that operate large Bering Sea factory processing vessels have confirmed cases of the virus among their crews — let alone an outbreak.

American Seafoods subsequently said it had extended its quarantine period to two weeks. Now, before boarding, all new crew members had to undergo a series of testing and screening procedures, including two nasal swab PCR tests and the longer quarantine period, according to the company. The fact that American Seafoods had put those stricter rules into place makes the source of the new outbreak somewhat of a mystery.

“I can’t speak at this point (about) anything specific that was done wrong,” said Tiura, the clinic executive “We know this is a very infectious agent, it can be difficult to detect, someone can be completely asymptomatic, can test negative, and then still develop the virus days later. So, in a large vessel like this, the ability for it to spread is significant.” Reinders said Unalaska is not concerned about community spread at this time, and will not be increasing its assessment of the local risk level, which is currently set at “medium.” She said all cases are related to the American Seafoods vessel and that everyone was kept isolated.

“I think this does remind us all that this is an active pandemic that we are all currently experiencing and so, each of those individual choices that we make day in and day out, they really do make a difference,” she said. “And so, please remain diligent in your efforts.”


I guess the experiment was repeated. Probably a few variables not mentioned though.

It’s damned difficult to effectively quarantine 119 people for 14 days. You’d have to put them in a sterile prison. With a 119 people quarantined in a hotel, a number of them are going to find ways to “socialize” with other people, bartenders, waitresses, delivery drivers, girlfriends, escorts, drug dealers, etc. Also, these social activities are often lubricated with drugs and alcohol.

It amazes me how many people that ought to know better think Covid 19 is no big deal and that everyone is going to get it anyway.

Many crewmen on a factory trawlers don’t know any better.

It would be interesting to know where American Seafoods is hiring it’s processors.

A bit OT, but it is also a bit unbelievable that this:

Could be turned into this:

But that is apparently what happened:

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Yes, the devil is in the details of the quarantine. Where I work, mariners are required to self-quarantine for 14-days before sailing. Which means staying at home, shopping less often, getting take out food, avoiding sit-down eateries, bars, and crowds. Wear a mask. OK to go out to exercise. Hiking and backpacking encouraged. There’s more to it, but you get the picture.

And it works. Doing the statistical numbers for our work force, and the infection rates of the counties they live in, we should have seen a number of shipboard cases of C19 already, but we’ve had none. We’ll see one eventually, but every voyage without a case is a savings of $$$,$$$.

I worked for American Seafood years ago, A well-run company. Their crews are a United Nations: Americans , Norwegians, Japanese, Vietnamese, Somalis, Latin Americans…

With so many people it’s hard to guarantee all will maintain a strict personal quarantine, and all it requires is just one person to break quarantine to infect the crew. The bigger the crew, the greater the chance of a shipboard epidemic. Given the runaway infection rate in the U.S., a case could be made that the biggest chance of infection comes from the Americans.

I should note too that the rest of the hake fishery fleet avoided C19 infections. Only this one company has had them. They used different protocols, at least at first.

Vendors are a big problem. Some of them are resistant about wearing masks, and I’ve never seen one that keeps six feet away from you.