Seychelles externalises fishing crew exchanges


(Posted 11th July 2020)

Clearly stung by the sudden influx of new #COVID19 cases, brought into the country by a group of West African sailors who flew into Mahe from two points in West Africa for a Spanish tuna seiner fleet crew exchange, has the Seychelles government reportedly changed tack, not allowing another crew exchange any time soon.
Having been all but out of the woods with the pandemic, with no active cases reported on the islands for several weeks, did the crew exchange catapult fresh case numbers to 89, more than 8 times the number of the initial case load.

This led to a range of allegations being made to ATCNews as well as questions being asked, where the negative certificates of crew members were ‘manufactured’, only to find the same individuals testing positive on arrival in the Seychelles. This led to widespread anger among in particular the tourism fraternity across the islands, one of whom told ATCNews: ‘This is the last thing we needed ahead of the restart of mainstream tourism on 01st of August. Someone somewhere did not do their jobs right, someone somewhere produced certificates which obviously gave wrong results. We need our government to find out if this was a mistake, an error or done intentionally. We cannot afford to suffer such irresponsible acts from third parties. It is good government shifted the next crew exchange to another location outside Seychelles.

It is understood that the next crew exchange was due imminently for a French owned fishing fleet operating in Seychelles waters. Seychelles asked the fleet owners to do the exchange through a French region in the Indian Ocean, most likely Reunion, with the other territory being Mayotte.
Any further crew exchange for the Spanish tuna seiner fleet will according to information received also have to be done outside Seychelles territory, understandable after many of the certificates presented on arrival by the crew members appeared to have been faked.

Seychelles is also following up through diplomatic channels with the countries where the sailors originated from and where the certificates were issued.