NATION

Stuck Onboard New Guinea Chief

Like the numerous countries they’ve docked at over the past five months, the 25 crew members can not disembark because of the global COVID-19 pandemic - except for the cargo they carry.
16 Jun 2020 11:54
Stuck Onboard New Guinea Chief
Tennessee Dawn Tuimereke.

Tennessee Dawn Tuimereke could only watch from onboard the container ship, New Guinea Chief as they docked at her home town, Lautoka, yesterday afternoon.

The only thing on her mind – so close yet so far.

She is unable to get off to see her children. They live only minutes away at Natabua.

Her children are prohibited from getting on board to say hello to their mother.

Facebook Messenger keeps them connected.

Like the numerous countries they’ve docked at over the past five months, the 25 crew members cannot disembark because of the global COVID-19 pandemic – except for the cargo they carry.

The countries include Japan, Kiribati, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The last time she set foot on the ground was over five months ago in Taiwan.

Ms Tuimereke is from Bua. She is the lone woman crew member and the first Pacific islander to become the chief cook on the vessel.

She is stoked to be home. But is hoping for some sort of intervention from authorities – just to get off the vessel and at least buy some toiletries.

Five other Fijians work on the vessel – Ametai Batiweti, Ilaitia Ratuwere, Peceli Togoloa, Kusi Naqiolevu and Patrick Yaya.

Yesterday Mr Togoloa and Mr Yaya had decided to disembark and would be undergoing the 28 days in self-isolation.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Ms Tuimereke said the crew had their temperature checked morning and evening.

The New Guinea Chief is a container ship built in 2015. It sails under the Hong Kong flag.

It’s carrying capacity is 1617 TEU and her current draught is reported to be 8.5 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 176 metres and her width is 28 meters.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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