Three UK-based contractors who travelled to Ireland to work at the Corrib Gas terminal in north Mayo have tested positive for Covid-19.
Vermilion Exploration & Production Ireland Limited, which operates the Corrib gas field, has confirmed the positive case results this afternoon.
The individuals, all of whom were asymptomatic were tested on the same day they arrived in Ireland and restricted their movements while awaiting results, said Vermilion. One of the positive cases was returned on Tuesday and two were confirmed today.
They will now quarantine for the next 14 days and will be tested again before being allowed to work. Tracing of close contacts is currently underway by the HSE; however, all of their contractor colleagues have been advised to self-isolate and private accommodation is being arranged.
Vermilion has told the Western People that all personnel travelling from overseas are Covid tested upon arrival and restrict their movements until a negative result is confirmed, upon which they are free to travel to and from their accommodation to work. When not at work they are required to restrict their movements and follow public health advice.
It is understood that a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Ireland is not required due to the ‘essential’ nature of the work at Bellanaboy.
Quoting EU guidelines Vermilion said: “Under the EU “Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during Covid-19 outbreak (2020/C 102 I/03)” the free movement of all workers in critical occupations is “deemed essential and Member States are requested to allow workers to enter the territory of the host Member State and have unhindered access to their place of work”
Vermilion has engaged a number of specialist workers (70 in total) to support essential maintenance works at the Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal.
The highly specialised nature of the work is such that it requires the company to bring in this expertise from abroad,” said Vermilion.
The company is now re-testing all contractors who have travelled to Erris in the past two weeks. Vermilion said as part of internal Covid-19 protocols they actively test all non-Irish Specialist Contractors when they arrive in the country.
All contract workers need to return a negative Covid-19 test before they can enter our facilities and start work. All of these individuals are required to restrict their movements and follow public health guidance when not at work,” said the oil and gas company. The testing is carried out by an independent third-party company “Health Watch” based in Dublin.
Vermilion said the terminal continues to operate safely and there are no Covid-19 cases on the facility.
“The health and safety of our workforce and the local community is our first priority. At all times, we have carefully followed the protocols and advice issued by the HSE, The Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.”
“We want to assure the community that we are actively managing the situation and working with the HSE and regulators,” the statement added.
The Corrib gas field is 20% owned by Canada’s Vermilion, while the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board owns 45 %. The pension group acquired the stake from Shell Ireland in 2017 for more than €900m.