Crew members of an Alaska fishing vessel who visited a bar while awaiting COVID-19 test results in Unalaska have "effectively fired themselves," according to Seattle-based United States Seafoods, owners of the vessel.
"We are extremely sorry about the events that occurred," Dave Wood, United States Seafoods' chief operating officer, told local news site KUCB, following the event.
"We regret that these individuals made terrible decisions, put a lot of people at risk and harmed a lot of people. We are as outraged as you are."
Earlier this week a little over half of the 51-person crew of the United States Seafoods’ groundfish fishing vessel Seafreeze America tested positive for COVID-19 while docked in Unalaska.
Confirmation testing of those aboard was completed by the local Iliuliuk Family and Health Services (IFHS) clinic on April 11, which resulted in 26 confirmed positives and two presumed positives. Contact tracing is currently underway, according to the city of Unalaska.
The company says it is still investigating, but KUCB reports that as many as four of the COVID-positive crew at Unalaska's isolation facility visited Unalaska's Norwegian Rat Saloon April 10, just before midnight.
The 240-foot vessel was fishing for yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea last week when a few of the 51 crew members on board started feeling symptoms of COVID-19, according to the news site.
The company tested the symptomatic crew on board and rerouted the boat to Dutch Harbor to confirm those results and be closer to medical care, according to Wood.
IntraFish tracking of the pandemic since March of 2020 has shown 1,043 seafood workers in Alaska have tested positive for COVID-19, making up 66 percent of total reported cases for seafood workers in the United States.