MORE tests have been conducted on the crew of the Patricia Oldendorff, a vessel anchored off Port Hedland, Western Australia.
Results are pending.
So far nine of the crew have tested positive, including seven of those still on board.
The vessel is been anchored nine nautical miles off the coast since mid-September.
According to the WA Department of Health, 12 of the crew were transferred off on Friday including the two positive cases and they remain well in hotel accommodation under quarantine.
“Test results for the remaining crew have not yet come in,” WA Health said on Sunday, adding the outcomes would become known overnight.
Some 20 Filipino nationals and the captain were on board the ship when it anchored.
Over the weekend, the WA Department of Health released a statement saying that given the size of the vessel and number of crew, it was anticipated additional crew would also become COVID-19 positive over coming days.
“Planning is being put in place with the vessel operator, Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Pilbara Ports Authority regarding the safety of the vessel and potential replacement crew – if required,” the Department of Health stated.
Daily cleaning of the vessel has also begun, with a deep clean to be conducted prior to any new crew boarding the vessel.
Maritime Industry Australia chief executive Teresa Lloyd said no-one should be surprised that there were COVID positive cases on an international ship.
“This is not the first in Australia, and it won’t be the last. Shipping relies on an international workforce and we are still in the solid grip of a global pandemic,” Ms Lloyd said.
“Some reports over the weekend are alarming – if there is insufficient PPE for health care and other land-based workers in Port Hedland questions really need to ask as to how this is possible eight months into the pandemic.”
Ms Lloyd noted the seafarers were being looked after and the community protected.
“We hope everyone recovers quickly and the ship is able to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” Ms Lloyd said.
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ITF regional inspector Dean Summers said protocols developed through the Al-Kuwait cluster in Fremantle ensured industry, unions and government agencies all understood the status and processes applied.
“WA health and others did a great job to ensure the health and welfare of the crew was the highest priority along with the integrity of the protections for the local community,” Mr Summers said.
“In this latest case the same sensible but cautious protocols have been adopted and the ITF is confident it’s being managed in the best possible way.”
Mr Summers said throughout the pandemic there had been zero cases of crew to community transmissions and the fine work in Western Australia and Queensland supported that record.