A coronavirus-plagued ship that was anchored off Western Australia’s Pilbara coast has finally set sail for the Philippines, as the state recorded five new cases in hotel quarantine.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority cleared the Vega Dream for departure on Wednesday night after the vessel spent days anchored about 40km offshore from Port Hedland.
Seven crew members from the BHP-chartered ship had become infected with COVID-19, with one completing their hotel quarantine in Perth.
“In line with its commitment to humanitarian care, the WA Department of Health offered assistance to the COVID-19 positive crew, however as medical intervention is not currently required, this was declined,” the department said in a statement.
“Prior to embarking on its voyage, the department’s public health experts provided advice to the vessel around infection prevention and control.
“The shipping agent was also offered access to the department’s vessel deep-cleaning plans – used for the successful and safe management of the Artania, Al Kuwait and Patricia Oldendorff.”
After the ship left Port Hedland on Sunday, it fell under the Commonwealth’s jurisdiction but the WA government continued to offer assistance.
The Vega Dream was the second vessel to arrive from Manila with virus-affected crew members within weeks, following the Patricia Oldendorff bulk carrier.
Meanwhile, a woman aged in her 20s, who travelled to Perth from England and is in hotel quarantine, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.
Five more cases were reported overnight – three women and two men, aged between 25 and 30, who are in hotel quarantine after travelling to Perth from either India, Nepal or Brazil.
It brings WA’s total number of confirmed cases to 709.