Asante Fisheries Company denies dumping covid-19 suspect at Keta
Management of Asante Fisheries Company Ltd, a Tema based fishing company has debunked media reports that a crew member of one of its vessels was dumped at the shores of Keta, because the said sailor had symptoms of the deadly coronavirus. A statement issued by the company dated April 11, 2020 and signed by one of its Directors, Mr Frank Aihoon stated that they own and operate MV SANKOFA.
According to the report, on the February 27, 2020, a sailor, Mr William Koomson, embarked on MV SANKOFA at the Tema anchorage as a cook for the Korean crew onboard. Report filed by the master of the boat, Captain Kim Yeon Jin, according to the release, indicated that the cook exhibited gross incompetence in making dishes for the Korean crew for which his services was engaged.
On the April 1, 2020, he was given final caution, but he showed disrespect to the captain, a conduct that is unacceptable in any fishing vessel anywhere in the world. On the April 2, 2020, the entire crew and the master agreed for Mr Koomson to disembark, an action he accepted.
The sideboat took him to a fishing canoe, which was rented as a means of transportation to the shore. Mr Koomson was also given a package of fish for him to sell, use the proceeds for transportation by road to Tema office for his entitlement to be paid him.
On landing at Keta, he was held on suspicion of carrying the coronavirus disease.
Initial test conducted on him proved negative. It was, nevertheless, decided that on ground of sound medical principle, he should be held for the mandatory 14 days in quarantine after which an exit test would be conducted.
The company, Asante Fisheries Ltd paid for hotel accommodation, provided a nurse who is paid to attend to him on daily basis and his upkeep till the exit test is conducted to be sure he is safe.
The report emphasized that Asante Fisheries Company Ltd is aware of the seriousness of the coronavirus and the implementation for its entire crew should a member show symptoms of the disease.
It further stated that disembarkment of a crew is a normal practice within the fishing industry and that this was not done with any malicious intent or without the necessary precautions.
It was also not done to endanger the live and well-being of Mr Koomson, persons he came into contact with nor the community that hosted him. The company therefore, allayed the fears of persons who may have been alarmed by the false reports emanating from this normal practice of disembarkment.
Sometime last week, there was media reports which suggested that the Keta Municipal Assembly is considering dragging the company to court for deliberately ‘dumping’ a crew suspected to be infected with Covid-19 in its jurisdiction to spread the virus.
By John Bediako / www.thechronicle.com.gh