Seychelles Tightens Regulations for Fishing Crews After New Cases of COVID-19

West African crew members joining a French fishing fleet operating in the Seychelles' waters will make crew changes via another Indian Ocean-based island under a newly signed agreement.

The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a news conference Wednesday that under the agreement West African crew members will not be allowed to join their ships through Seychelles, but rather do so in Reunion, a French overseas department in the region.

"The mariners will have to first travel to Paris to be tested and get their validated certificates which prove they are COVID-19 negative for them to be able to work on the ships while these are in Seychelles' waters. They will then proceed to Reunion from where they will join their respective ships," said Gedeon.

Negotiations are under way for a similar agreement with the owners of the Spanish fishing fleet operating in the waters of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Gedeon also stressed that the local agents for the fishing fleets will have to be more proactive in ensuring that everything is done according to guidelines and measures in place, instead of only relying on the word of their corresponding international agents.

The stricter measures came after West African crew members of a Spanish fishing fleet tested positive for COVID-19 despite having produced negative certificates prior to their arrival in the island nation.

There are 79 seafarers and six Seychellois with active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. Further testing is still being done.

Seychelles is facing economic difficulties after the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the tourism sector, the country's top contributor. Fisheries is the second main contributor to the island nation's economy.

More From: Seychelles News Agency

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