Vanuatu Port Authorities told the tanker to return to shore and a search and rescue operation got underway.
After the body of the crew member was found on the beach, authorities detained the tanker. The body was taken to a mortuary and later tested positive for COVID-19, according to RNZ.
It’s not clear from the RNZ report whether the man died from COVID-19 or how he came to wash ashore on the island.
Most of the remote island nations of the South Pacific have reported very few coronavirus cases, and Vanuatu – home to around 300,000 people – is no exception. The country has reported just three COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
It reported its first case in November last year, and two more infections in March.
According to Prime Minister Bob Loughman, the travel ban is in place while authorities conduct contact tracing, RNZ reported.
As part of those efforts, 16 people have been put in quarantine – most of them police officers who went to the scene when the body was found, according to the report.
The Director-General of Health, Russell Tamata, is urging the public to get tested, although he said the risk of community transmission was low, according to RNZ.
CNN has reached out to Vanuatu authorities for comment.