THE crew of the UK-flagged gas tanker Inge Kosan has faced a very difficult time over the past six months.

After leaving Vanuatu in early April, a crew member was located deceased, washed ashore on a local beach. The deceased crew member tested positive to COVID-19. The vessel was given permission to enter Queensland waters to anchor off Mooloolaba to await testing of the crew onboard.

Brisbane Mission to Seafarers secretary Lisa Davis said Brisbane Marine Pilots assisted authorities with their pilot launch, taking staff from Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology to the vessel to undertake COVID testing.

“The results of the testing showed 11 of the 12 crew onboard had recent or past infections. However, one crew member tested negative, and arrangements were made to remove the seafarer from the vessel into hotel quarantine,” Ms Davis said.

“Once the seafarer, Sean, arrived in quarantine, the caring team at the Mission to Seafarers Brisbane established immediate contact to ensure he felt supported. Sean and Centre Supervisor Heather Turner developed an immediate friendship with Sean posting on Facebook often about how well she is caring for him.”

Connecting with the crew

When the vessel was cleared to enter the Port of Brisbane, Brisbane Marine Pilot Captain Craig Seeley was tasked with bringing the vessel safely alongside the BP Products Wharf. During the pilotage, Mr Seeley was able to speak to many of the crew and was deeply troubled by the morale and sense of desolation onboard.

“The loss of their fellow crew member had hit them hard and the unease around their immediate futures added to their sombre moods,” Captain Seeley said.

Upon hearing their story first-hand from the pilot, everyone at BMP wanted to do something to assist.

Managing director Geoffrey Dawson made a call to the mission and within a few hours had arranged for a parcel of luxuries, all purchased through the mission’s on-line store, to be packaged up for delivery.

Special delivery

On Sunday night, the BMP pilot launch was loaded with its special cargo and headed out to the Inge Kosan. Once again, Craig Seeley was the pilot onboard.

“As we passed the boxes up the side of the vessel, we wished the crew well for the future and assured them they would be in our thoughts. The crew were utterly surprised with this unexpected gesture. As we pulled away from the vessel, the crew in the accommodation quarters were holding their hands in prayer as a symbol of their thanks,” Mr Seeley said.

“I’d like to thank the Mission to Seafarers Brisbane, the vessel’s agent, Wave Shipping, Border Force and all my colleagues at BMP for making the sombre days a little brighter for the crew onboard the Inge Kosan.”

Ms Davis said: “Brisbane Marine Pilots are incredibly proud of the compassion and care Captain Craig Seeley showed the seafarers at a particularly dark time and encourage the wider maritime community to engage with their local Mission to Seafarers in the lead up to International Day of the Seafarer on Friday 25 June.”

Captain Dawson said: “Do what you can to ensure our seafarers are not forgotten.”