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Additional safety measures in place

Sea Harvest and Lucky Star implemented extensive measures before and during the lockdown period in an effort to protect their essential services staff, which includes controlling entry points, temperature screenings and additional hand sanitising stations.

“A 24-hour nurse has been appointed, stationed at the main entrance for medical screenings. Painted markings were also added on the ground as well as barrier railings at high traffic areas. In addition new shift and break times and partitions inside the two factories in Saldanha were added in order to ensure employees have enough space to adhere to the social distancing guideline of 1.5 m,” said Abraham.

Transportation guidelines on the number of passengers per bus or taxi are observed to promote safety and proper distancing. Transport is sanitised between trips and each passenger’s temperature monitored, hands sanitised, and masks checked, before being allowed onto the bus.

Following the positive test at Sea Harvest, risk groups were developed and the factory split into five sections with staggered break times to minimise congestion.

“Lucky Star conducted training with their managers and supervisors, to better understand Covid-19 and they, in turn, were able to communicate to their staff and help detect early warning signs. A walk-through demister unit is currently being trialled at our St Helena Bay site. We intend rolling it out to all the Oceana Group sites,” said Nombutuma.

Stringent protocols are also in place and observed by the crew before sailing. Pre-screening measures are in place to check temperature, health and movement of the crew members. Should any member not meet the set pre-sailing requirements, they are not allowed onto the vessels and are sent to the clinic for consultation and further testing. Communication includes information posters in the three official languages of the Western Cape. Each vessel also has a Covid-19 champion that encourages daily safety adherence. Extra water is now on each vessel for increased hydrat­ion while isolation rooms have also been set up.

Nombutuma added that staff have access to their health wellness programme and are encouraged to check in with each other, giving support and encouragement while observing social distancing guidelines.

Giving back

With the growing need amid the Covid-19 pandemic local fishing companies have also been giving back to needy communities. Sea Harvest will have distributed 10 000 food parcels to families on the Cape West Coast, Southern Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape by the end of May.

“We are deeply invested in the welfare and well-being of the communities where we operate and have provided food parcels to over 3 000 working employees to ensure their families have access to food while they are at work. This has been ongoing for the last six weeks. In addition to these food parcels, we have also distributed care packs which includes sanitiser which can be refilled at work,” says Suleiman Salie, Managing Director at Lucky Star Operations.

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