The Port Authority has delayed the beginning of operations on a Matson ship that arrived this morning after a crew member was found lifeless on board. Out of precaution, the Department of Public Health and Social Services will be conducting a COVID-19 test to ensure that the cause of death is not COVID related.
Port Authority of Guam General Manager Rory J. Respicio was notified this morning by Matson that a crew member aboard M/V Papa Mau was found unresponsive in his cabin as the vessel was en route to Guam. The captain notified the U.S. Coast Guard immediately, and emergency procedures were implemented.
Once notified of the lifeless crew member, the Port prohibited any operations on the vessel and instead the Port’s assistant operations manager escorted four nurses on board to swab the lifeless crew member.
Three of the public health nurses were from the Port Clinic and one was a supervisor who came down to the Port to take the lead on the swabbing. The nurses were escorted off the ship and the sample taken to DPHSS for testing. The vessel also was met at the dock by Guam Customs and Public Health.
Matson also advised that all crew members were recently tested for COVID-19, and all received negative results. Matson also noted that crew members do not take liberty at the ports they visit. The Matson Papa Mau was docked at the Port’s F5 pier at 7:25 a.m. The ship’s previous port of call was Palau.
As a precaution, the Port prohibited any operations on the vessel until the COVID test result is received. If the test comes back negative then operations will begin immediately on the vessel. If the swab comes back positive for COVID-19 then the vessel will be placed in quarantine by the Port pending further guidance from DPHSS and other appropriate authorities.
Respicio said the situation will not delay the arrival and operations of any other vessels that are scheduled to arrive today and tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Port extends its condolences to the family of the deceased as well as to Matson on the loss of their crew member.