As COVID spikes in Russia, an infected Murmansk trawler docks in Tromsø

At least 24 of the 34 crew members were known to be infected by Tuesday, Norwegian media reports.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - October 8, 2020
The Russian fishing vessel Obelyay has docked in Tromsø with numerous cases of coronavirus reported among its crew. ( via The Independent Barents Observer)

The 62-meter-long Obelyay on Monday evening sailed into Tromsø. On board were several crew members with clear coronavirus symptoms.

By Tuesday morning, it was clear that as many as 24 of the 34 crew members were infected, NRK reports.

The situation has made local health authorities sound the alarm. The infected Russian fishermen were on Wednesday brought by special transportation to an isolation facility, where they will be provided health care services by municipal medical staff, head doctor Katrine Kristoffersen says to the broadcaster.

The remaining crew members will be in quarantine on board the ship.

On its way to Tromsø, the Obelyay made port call also in Kirkenes, the Norwegian border town. However, none of the crew members are reported to have been on land during the ship’s stay in town.

The Obelyay is one of many ships that has experienced a major virus outbreak. In early summer, health authorities in Kirkenes were on high alert as reefer Novy Svet made port call in Kirkenes with infection on board.

The trawler is owned and operated by company Nord Pilgrim, the major fisheries company in Murmansk. It operates mainly outside Russian waters and rarely delivers catches in Murmansk.

While the number of COVID-19 cases in northern Norway now is very low, the situation is different in neighboring Murmansk.

Figures from regional health authorities on October 8 include 142 new cases over the last 24 hours, one of the highest numbers on record.

The total number of people in Murmansk registered with the virus is now exceeds 15,885, more than in all of Norway.

After a period with declining numbers, the COVID is now growing all over Russia. On October 8, a total of 11,493 new cases were registered, bringing the total number to 1,260,112.