New Zealand has brought ashore and quarantined 15 crew from a Tasman Sea fishing operation after they tested positive to COVID-19.
The virus was first discovered on board the Viking Bay fishing vessel last week, when two crew tested positive after flying into NZ heading to sea.
The positive tests prompted authorities to order the boat to shore in Wellington, the closest port with quarantine facilities.
Subsequent tests this week found 13 other crew members also contracted COVID-19, with five testing negative.
Those five crew members will remain on board the Viking Bay, which is anchored in Wellington Harbour, and be re-tested later this week.
"Of the crew who have now returned a positive result, 12 are regarded as being in the early stages of their infection," a Ministry of Health statement read.
"The transfer of the crew members was done with the appropriate precautions in place."
A group of nine seafarers from southeast Asia landed in Auckland last Monday, transferring to Port Taranaki where they joined existing crew on board the Viking Bay and headed to sea.
At least one seafarer has the Delta variant.
The NZ government allows international arrivals to skip the mandatory fortnight in quarantine if they are transferring immediately to a fishing vessel.
Officials maintain they followed strict protocols in transferring the mariners, and are confident the virus has not spread into the community.