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All at sea Spanish fishing crew claim they suffered 'health neglect in Ireland' after Covid outbreak

'There is a huge problem, we do not have an ambulance to take him to the hospital'


Castletownbere (from Google Maps)

Castletownbere (from Google Maps)

Castletownbere (from Google Maps)

A fishing boat crew from Spain have complained of “health neglect in Ireland" after they sought help when one of them started showing signs of Covid infection. 

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.

According to the Spanish newspaper NIUS, who spoke to the crew on their return, the Manuel Laura was working in the Gran Sol (Great Sole Bank) when one of the eleven crew members of began to present symptoms “compatible with the coronavirus”.

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.

“They docked in the Irish port of Castletownbere, but there the treatment received was not as expected,” the paper reports.

“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, the crew of the fishing vessel is made up of 11 sailors, mostly from the Pontevedra region of O Morrazo.

One of them was vaccinated with Pfizer and the rest had received the single jab from Janssen in Galicia before they set sail.

“But it was in the Irish port itself that the suspicions of contagion were confirmed,” the paper recorded.

“On Saturday a car arrived with an ATS to perform PCR only on the colleague, although there was already another one who also had symptoms.

“They got quick tests that they carried out, the results of which yielded two more infections.”

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

Since Tuesday afternoon the ship has been docked in the port of Vigo where the sailors were taken by ambulance “one by one” to medical centres in the city.

Of the eight crew members who presented with symptoms, “half show mild discomfort, but all are already in the process of monitoring”.

The crew has now requested that their trade union CIG (Confederación Intersindical Galega) open an investigation, “and that the administrations claim responsibility for what happened”.

“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.

According to vesselfinder.com, Manuel Laura is a fishing vessel that was built in 2004 and is currently sailing under the flag of the United Kingdom.

On August 4 its position was given as located in the port of Vigo where it arrived on August 3 and had been in Castletownbere, where it arrived on July 30 before departing the following day.

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