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Grounded Crew of Dutch Royal Navy ship refused permission to disembark in Dublin over Covid concerns

'In this case there were too many people on board with mild complaints'

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The amphibious transport ship Zr Ms Rotterdam (from Facebook)

The amphibious transport ship Zr Ms Rotterdam (from Facebook)

The amphibious transport ship Zr Ms Rotterdam (from Facebook)

The crew of a Dutch Royal Navy ship were refused permission to disembark in Dublin by the captain because of a number of Covid infections on board, it has emerged. 

According to the Ministry of Defense in the Netherlands, the amphibious transport ship Zr Ms Rotterdam had arrived in Ireland on Sunday morning, October 3.

Reports say several people on board had suffered from corona complaints in the previous three weeks, which varied from nose colds and coughs to headaches.

As the complaints lasted no longer than 24 to 48 hours for those crew members it was decided not to test the them while at sea.

“In the Netherlands, the advice is; stay home and test if you have complaints,” Commander Ad van de Sande, said.

“The testing is intended to protect the rest of society. Everyone is at home on board at sea. Then 'not testing' is a logical choice, because there is no risk of infecting society.

“People with mild complaints were also not tested because of the high vaccination rate of 89 per cent on board, which means that the chance that someone will become seriously ill and have to go to hospital is small.”

However, when the ship docked in Dublin, it was decided not to let the crew go ashore.

“In this case there were too many people on board with mild complaints,” Van de Sande added.

“It was also found that several people had tested positive among the marines who left the ship earlier. The chance that a Covid patient will slip through and go ashore is therefore too great. That is why passengers are not allowed to travel now.”

The marines who had left the ship earlier were members of the 1st Marine Combat Group. They had been were dropped off on the British coast on Friday for a land exercise.

A rapid and medical antigen test showed that several marines had tested positive and they were required to do a second PCR test. The marines who tested positive have been in isolation for ten days, after which they will participate in the exercise again.

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The commander said it was a "tough decision" not to let the Rotterdam crew disembark.

“Certainly, a port visit is very important for morale on board,” he said. “After a few long weeks at sea, it is important that the crew can let off some steam.”

Meanwhile, the crew of a second Dutch ship, the Zr Ms Karel Doorman were due to disembark in Cork, as there were "almost no members with similar complaints on this ship", according to Dutch media.

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