As many as 86 crew members on a fishing ship slated for Alaska voyage test positive for coronavirus

The ship was to sail for the Bering Sea this summer, but those plans are now on hold.

By Reuters - June 1, 2020
The fishing ship American Dynasty is shown in a 2008 photograph. The ship was slated to sail to Alaska’s Bering Sea this summer, but those plans are on hold after 86 crew members tested positive for COVID-19. (Brewbooks CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr)

Eighty-six crew members in one of American Seafoods’ fish processing vessels have tested positive for COVID-19, the fishing company said on Sunday.

The crew of the American Dynasty trawler were tested for the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus in the port at Bellingham, Washington before departing to Seattle. American Dynasty has a carrying capacity of 142 crew.

[As rural Alaska reports its first COVID-19 case, concerns over summer fisheries rise]

Test results for another nine crew members are awaited, the company said.

The Seattle-based company, which operates six fish processing vessels in the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean, is said to be one of the largest at-sea processors of wild Pacific hake and wild Alaska pollock fish.

[Nunavut fisheries to forge ahead despite COVID-19]

According to a Seattle Times report, the American Dynasty had been scheduled to fish in Alaska’s Bering Sea this summer, but those plans are now on hold.

Communities along Alaska’s Bering Sea coast and elsewhere have repeatedly expressed concern about the possibility that summer fisheries could spread the coronavirus in remote parts of the state.

Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru.