M.V Papa Mau

Front-line workers who serviced a foreign vessel that arrived from Fiji are now in quarantine for next 11 days though they had been tested negative for COVID-19, the Minister of of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana announced tonight.

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As a pre-caution measure, the front-liners will be quarantine for the next 11 days and must produce the required negative tests before they are released. At the same time the minister underlines the importance of vaccination which he stresses plays a key role in stopping a possible community transmission.

The minister revealed tonight they took the drastic step after 13 of the 14 crew members who worked in the M.V Papa Mau were tested positive for COVID-19 in Nauru after spending a day in Honiara.

The frontline workers included those from Health, Customs, Immigration, Bio-Security, Ship Agent, Stevedores and the Ports Boat Captain.

Togamana said all individuals identified in the boarding operation to clear the ship and offloading of cargo had been identified and moved to quarantine and their swaps were collected. The tests were done at the NRH Molecular Lab late this afternoon.

A thankful Tongamana announced that all the results of those that went on the boat were negative. He attributed the success to God by saying “Praise be to God.”


According to Togamana, his ministry was alerted last night by the ship’s agent through the comptroller of customs that some members the M.V Papa Mau were tested positive for COVID-19 in Nauru on 20th July.

The crew members of M.V Papa Mau was offloading cargo in Honiara on 15th July 2021 and left for Nauru on the same day.

The minister said in his radio broadcast that the vessel was boarded with one new crew member in Fiji on July 10 before it set sail for Honiara. He was tested negative for COVID-19 two days earlier before he boarded the ship in Fiji so as the rest of the crew members who had their tests on June 21.

The vessel left Fiji on 10th July and arrived in Honiara on 14th and was allowed for inward clearance on 15th July at 8am. It left at 4pm for Nauru. However, on 25th of July they were tested and 13 of the 14 crew members generated positive results for COVID-19.

“With the information received the ministry immediately conducted a comprehensive risk assessment to all boarding parties,” said the minister.

Togamana said though their results were negative they will remain in quarantine for the next 11 days until they fulfill all the negative results before they are released.

So what is the difference?

Togamana said the negative results is also testament to the fact that all the front-liners observed the infection and control protocols and they were all vaccinated.

“This is the reason why these people were tested negative to a potentially and highly likely positive case. This shows the importance of getting one-self vaccinated,” he said.

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