85 American Seafoods Vessel Crew Members Infected with COVID-19, Vessel Underway to Seward


American Triumph ported in Bellingham. Image-TyrelHa/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
American Triumph ported in Bellingham. Image-TyrelHa/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

On Sunday, the city of Seward issued a press release reporting that they will be “providing critical support for an American Seafoods vessel,” that had a serious COVID-19 outbreak aboard and would be arriving in that city sometime Wednesday.

According to the release, 85 members of the crew of the American Triumph tested positive for the virus. Initially, seven members of the crew reported symptoms consistent with the virus and were tested upon arrival in Unalaska. Six of those seven would be found to have COVID-19.

Ultimately, all 119 crew members aboard the vessel were tested by the Iliuliuk Family & Health Services Clinic in Unalaska resulting in 85 cases of the virus. 34 crew members would test negative. Those 34 uninfected will be transported to Anchorage by charter flight and will be quarantined for symptom monitoring.

Upon arrival in Seward, the remaining crew will be taken by bus to Anchorage to be placed in isolation, care, and monitoring. The vessel will be professionally cleaned and disinfected while in the port of Seward. A skeleton crew presently in quarantine in Anchorage will be transferred to Seward and boarded on the vessel. That crew will not be allowed to diembark the vessel while in port. 

The plan to be carried out was put in place “at the request of, and in coordination with, the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (COVID-19 Unified Command Critical Infrastructure Sustainment Branch), Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Management Services, American Seafoods, City of Unalaska, City of Seward, the Seward Medical Community and others, this plan was developed to save lives and provide medical intervention for the crew members aboard the American Triumph,” according to the press release.

“Alaskans have a long legacy of helping those in need,” said Seward Mayor Christy Terry. “Seward is willing and able to respond to this request for assistance, knowing that risks have been mitigated to protect our community and our own health care system.”

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This latest outbreak aboard an American Seafoods factory trawler comes on the heels of an incident early last month of an outbreak where 86 members of the 126 crewmen aboard the American Dynasty were diagnosed with the virus while fishing off of the coast of Washington state.

This outbreak aboard the American Triumph came the same day that the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 119 other cases of COVID-19 elsewhere in the state.

American Seafoods has six vessels that fish the North Pacific and Bering Sea.