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Big problem Fishing boat crew to take Ireland 'health neglect' case to Spanish Government

The crew claimed they were told it would take an ambulance "four or five days" to get to them when they docked at Castletownbere

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The crew claim they were denied assistance at Castletownbere

The crew claim they were denied assistance at Castletownbere

The crew claim they were denied assistance at Castletownbere

The Spanish Government has been asked to take up the case of a fishing boat crew who complained of “health neglect in Ireland" after they claimed authorities here refused to help them when one of them fell ill with suspected coronavirus. 

The Manuel Laura was forced to return to Galicia to seek medical assistance after the crew claimed they were told it would take an ambulance "four or five days" to get to them when they docked at Castletownbere.

The ship had left Galicia on July 18 but on July 30, she had to reach port due to concerns regarding the health of one of the men on board.

According to the Spanish newspaper NIUS, who spoke to the crew on their return, “they docked in the Irish port of Castletownbere, but there the treatment received was not as expected”.

“They did not expel us, but they completely passed us by,” they quoted one of the crew as saying.

“After notifying (authorities) of the situation, the (first) surprise came with the first response to the request for medical attention,” the paper states.

"There is a huge problem, we do not have an ambulance to take him to the hospital and no taxi driver wants to take anyone with symptoms of Covid," the paper says the crew were told.

Furthermore, they were told an ambulance could take from between four and five days, “the sailors heard in amazement from the other end of the phone”.

“Faced with the situation, they were asked to prepare a suitcase with clothes to transfer the partner to an accommodation where they could initiate isolation, until minutes later the second negative answer arrived.

“We have another big problem,” they were apparently told. “It is summer season and nobody (has a house) available.

“The option was for us all to confine ourselves to the ship."

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According to NUIS, under coordination by the Madrid Radio Medical Center, the Manuel Laura then left Castletownbere for the fishing grounds before beginning the return journey to Spain.

It has since been reported in Spanish media that the vessel remains docked in the Port of Vigo where nine cases of Covid have now been detected among the crew.

However, many of them will now be able to leave the boat and continue quarantining at their homes.

According to El Español, a Spanish online newspaper, the provincial headquarters of Sanidade has communicated to the owner of the ship and whose crew is mainly from the O Morrazo area, that “there is no problem for the positives and their contacts that are on board (to) carry out their isolation or quarantine in their homes”.

“However, there is an exception, the case of one of the crew, who will remain on board because ‘he cannot guarantee the isolation conditions in his house’.

“Among the 12 crew members of the 'Manuel Laura', nine cases of Covid have been confirmed so far, after PCR tests carried out. Of the total number of infected, three were admitted to the Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital in Vigo.”

The paper reports that the fishing boat set sail a few days ago to Gran Sol and, in the middle of the journey, one of the crew began to feel unwell.

“Following protocol and after contacting the Madrid Radio Medical Center, they headed to the Irish port of Castletownbere, but received no medical assistance from the Irish authorities and were forced to return to the olive port, where they arrived early in the morning,” it states.

The paper adds that the Manuel Laura returned after they were denied assistance in Castletownbere by the Irish authorities, “who failed to comply with the International Sanitary Regulation”.

This has prompted a complaint to the trade union CIG (Confederación Intersindical Galega) and a call to open an investigation.

CIG has now asked the Government of Spain “to take measures with respect to this”.

“We are talking about a ship with Galician capital, an English company, endorsed by the EU with all the papers in order and which has a license to fish there. (They were) totally denied medical attention,” a trade union representative has been quoted as saying.

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