Concerns grow as more crewmen have tested positive for Covid 19 aboard American Seafoods Alaska fishing vessels American Triumph and Northern American. Following positive test results for 85 crewmen aboard the American Dynasty last week crewmen aboard the American Triumph and Northern Jaeger were tested this week after arriving in Bellingham, Washington. Initial reports indicate 21 crewmen aboard the Northern Jaeger tested positive and there were four positive test results aboard the American Triumph. Both vessels carry 110 crewmen. The positive testing crewmen have been placed in quarantine.
Under Federal Maritime Law and the Jones Act the employer and vessel owner owes a duty to its crew to provide a safe place to work. In the situation such as that involving the Covid 19 virus the employer must implement property safety procedures and protocols, testing and modifications to prevent crewmen from being infected with the virus.
Before starting their fishing trips in the middle of June American Seafoods reported they imposed a five-day quarantine on all crewmen and tested all crewmen for Covid 19 and only negative testing crewmen were allowed on the vessels. Infectious disease medical experts have questioned the effectiveness of the shorter five-day quarantine utilized by American Seafoods, and American Seafoods has now adopted the more widely recommended 14-day quarantine protocol.