All but 7 of the international mariners from Russia and the Ukraine will leave managed isolation and quarantine in the next 24 hours to join their vessels.
235 mariners arrived into New Zealand on 16 October on a charter flight from Moscow and have since been in a dedicated MIQ facility at the Sudima Christchurch Airport hotel.
The mariners had their 14 day stay in managed isolation extended by more than a week.
After a total of 22 days in managed isolation, daily health checks and up to five COVID-19 tests for some, 228 of the group will depart MIQ.
They will have a final health check today and are expected to depart on Saturday for their vessels.
Thirty-one of the group tested positive during their stay and were transferred to quarantine. Of these 24 have recovered and are cleared to leave.
The remaining seven continue to be monitored and will be required to meet the recovered case definition and receive a final health check before leaving MIQ.
As reported earlier by the Ministry of Health, two health staff working at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19. All other staff at the Sudima Christchurch Airport have now been tested and returned negative results.
Health services are confident that there has been no exposure of any of the crew by these two cases.
On leaving isolation, the group, many of whom are replacing international crew due to return to their home country, will go straight to the NZ fishing vessels they are assigned to.
Of the group, a number are skilled maintenance workers here to carry out work on deep sea trawlers. While they undertake this work over the next six weeks they will live on board the vessel and, once complete, they will leave New Zealand.
The fishing crew will also live on the vessels post release from the MIQ. Their employers wish the crew to isolate on board for a further week and shore leave will be restricted until all crew are tested and achieve a negative COVID-19 test.
All crew will be taking the appropriate health precautions while on board. Each vessel has a health professional on board.
The Ministry would like to acknowledge the mariners for their understanding and compliance while in managed isolation, and their New Zealand employers. We look forward to working further with the industry on keeping New Zealand safe.
021 707 503