SAN FRANCISCO - A cargo ship is anchored in San Francisco Bay with a COVID outbreak on board.
Officers on the Global Striker called the Coast Guard Monday afternoon seeking assistance.
"They reported that out of 21 crew members on board, there were 19 positive for the coronavirus," said Lt. Pete Pasilarakis of U.S. Coast Guard Golden Gate.
San Francisco fireboats were dispatched to the vessel so paramedics could evaluate.
Meanwhile, the department staged at Pier 26, readying for a potential multi-casualty event should everyone be in medical distress.
As it turned out, 13 of the ship's crew were found to have mild or no symptoms and stayed aboard.
But six said they felt sick enough that they wanted to come ashore for treatment.
"They all stated they were tested on Saturday and were positive for COVID-19, their signs and symptoms are extremely mild, they're in extremely good spirits," said Lt. Jonathan Baxter of the San Francisco Fire Department.
On the waterfront, the six patients were assessed further, then sent to either California Pacific Medical Center or UCSF for observation.
"They were all able to walk, able to breathe comfortably, this is a very mild onset at this time," said Baxter.
The Global Striker, loaded with logs, was last docked in West Sacramento, where the Coast Guard says it's unlikely any crew member left the ship.
"Not sure, but it's not typical for crew members to leave the boat," said Pasilarakis.
"But I can't say with 100% certainty."
To leave ship, the foreign crew members must clear U.S Customs and Border Protection.
And the freighter is now immobilized by a quarantine, imposed by SF Department of Public Health and CA Office of Emergency Services.
"So no one will be allowed to simply come on to shore to go to a restaurant or a bar, they are going to be on that vessel," said Baxter.
The quarantine will last two weeks, at least.
And the patients who came off the ship, if not admitted to hospitals, will be isolated elsewhere in the city or returned to their vessel.
"When somebody calls for help, no matter who they are or where they're from we're going to deliver that help with all safety precautions in place," said Baxter.
The Coast Guard expects it will be impossible for the Global Striker to sail without a replacement crew, unless it waits until its ailing crew has recovered.
Public health officials expect to know more about the ship's intentions Tuesday.