A Spanish-flagged fishing vessel is at the centre of a Covid scare just off the coast of Taranaki.
Two mariners tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday and are said to be a part of a group of nine crew who arrived in Auckland on Monday before they were taken to the deep-sea fishing boat in New Plymouth.
A Ministry of Health spokesman told the Herald the affected mariners flew to New Zealand from a Southeast Asian country.
Craig Harrison, of the Maritime Union, confirmed that the infected pair were on the Spanish-flagged Viking Bay.
"Our concern now is for the crew," he told Newstalk ZB this morning.
"It wouldn't be much fun [for] the crew on a small fishing vessel - everyone telling them to isolate."
The Ministry of Health announced the two new Covid cases yesterday evening.
Officials said the situation was "low risk" to the public because of standard infection prevention controls in place.
The group was transported from the international airport to the testing site in Auckland on a minibus operated by the national service provider and then to the vessel, the spokesman said.
"They stopped off on a second scheduled stop - to use the toilets at a managed isolation facility in Hamilton - on the way to New Plymouth."
Harrison said he had heard in some reports that the vessel involved had previously been in Auckland.
If that was the case, he questioned why the crew switch was not made safely in Auckland or nearby, rather than risk taking the long drive to do so.
Health authorities are now investigating their movements - including trying to establish how long they were at the airport.
Other passengers on the same flight the crew members were on are now considered to be contacts.
However, because they were on a red flight, all passengers on board had been transferred to a managed isolation facility where they are carrying out the usual 14-day quarantine period.
The Unite Against Covid-19 Facebook page continues to give updates to members of the public asking about the situation.
In a response to a question, staff posted that there did not appear to be any associated locations of interest at this point.
The Taranaki Public Health Unit has been in touch with the fishing vessel via the shipping agent; while the Auckland Regional Public Health Service is also now involved.