Cargo ship Dhun, flying under a Panama flag, is expected to anchor off Hay Point tonight with possible COVID positive crew members aboard. Picture: vesselfinder.com
Cargo ship Dhun, flying under a Panama flag, is expected to anchor off Hay Point tonight with possible COVID positive crew members aboard. Picture: vesselfinder.com

‘We’re safe’: Third ship in 5 days with suspected COVID

ANOTHER ship with suspected COVID-19 crew members aboard is expected to anchor off Hay Point tomorrow.

It's the third ship in five days with suspected cases of the virus to anchor off the Mackay region, and is expected about 1am.

The Dhun, a cargo ship under a Panama flag, most recently stopped in Japan on July 31 and left on August 4.

It is understood some crew on board have indicated loss of smell and taste sensations, a known symptom of coronavirus.

Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell said two crew members on the bulk carrier were displaying COVID-like symptoms.

"The vessel is currently at sea inbound from Japan to the Port of Hay Point," he said.

"The vessel is due to arrive at Hay Point anchorage tomorrow morning.

"This vessel has not entered the reef through a 'compulsory pilotage' area and has not had any interaction with Queensland-based personnel at this time.

"MSQ has arranged for all 21 crew to be COVID tested by a private medical facility at anchor on arrival."

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the region's residents should feel safe despite the COVID scares offshore.

He said the reason it was known the ship was docking at 1am was because MSQ procedures identified the risk.

"I'm completely happy with the procedures that are in place to keep us safe," he said.

"The ship's crew and the patients have abided all MSQ and CHO (Chief Health Officer) directions including checking the temperature of the crew each day before they arrive.

 

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Heidi Petith
Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Heidi Petith

 

"The Filipino crew did a crew changeover in Japan and they were all negative at that stage but a week into the journey it appears there are a few suspect cases.

"When it arrives … there is no person from our community that is going to be on board that ship except the doctor that goes out and he has all the PPE under the sun.

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"So this is like business as usual for us in our district and I think we've got to be very confident that the procedures in place are working.

"Yes we've had three ships in a week but we found them and they haven't landed, the crew changes haven't been here in Australia.

"All have been overseas and we have found them before they got to our area."

Cr Williamson said there were many ships that had been travelling for months without crew changes so he expected to see more cases as ships changed crews.

But he was pleased the State Government had directed crew could no longer fly into Brisbane and take a domestic flight to Mackay but rather a private charter or bus.

The Kilian Oldendorff, built in 2020 and flying under the flag of Liberia, arrived off the Mackay coast on Sunday.

 

The Kilian Oldendorff is currently docked off the Queensland coast near Hay Point. The bulk carrier, built in 2020, is sailing under the flag of Liberia. It has docked in China, Hong Kong and the Philippines during June and July. Picture: vesselfinder.com
The Kilian Oldendorff is currently docked off the Queensland coast near Hay Point. The bulk carrier, built in 2020, is sailing under the flag of Liberia. It has docked in China, Hong Kong and the Philippines during June and July. Picture: vesselfinder.com

 

Maritime information details port calls at Manila in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Nantong, China in June and July.

Mr Mitchell said on Monday test results for the crew aboard the ship were expected to come back Tuesday but MSQ had yet to be advised of the results.

A ship anchored off Abbot Point on Friday had two COVID positive patients who were taken to Townsville University Hospital for treatment.


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