There was an outbreak of COVID-19 on the BHP-chartered iron ore bulk carrier Vega Dream. The vessel has left its anchorage off Port Hedland on Wednesday evening to return to the Philippines and has declined medical assistance.
It has already received its iron ore consignment and was docked at the port on Sunday. It was subsequently anchored off Port Hedland, outside of WA’s jurisdiction, when an unwell crew member was taken onshore for treatment and tested positive for COVID-19. Seven crew members that tested positive were isolated onboard, in rooms with ensuite.
WA’s Department of Health said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority gave clearance for the vessel to leave after West Australian assistance was declined with no medical intervention required.
The department’s public health experts provided advice to the vessel around infection prevention and control and the shipping agent was also offered access to vessel deep-cleaning plans, used during breakouts on the Artania, Al Kuwait, and Patricia Oldendorff.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said last week that Australian mining companies had agreed to no longer use Manila-based ship crew members after the state confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 on board the bulk carrier.
The Vega Dream was the second ship that arrived in Port Hedland with positive cases on board in recent weeks after an outbreak on the now-departed Patricia Oldendorff bulk carrier.