News State Western Australia News Crew member on bulk carrier at Geraldton Port to be tested for COVID-19

Crew member on bulk carrier at Geraldton Port to be tested for COVID-19

One crew member on board the Key Integrity bulk carrier will be tested for COVID-19 after showing symptoms. Photo: ABC News/Laura Meachim
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A ship at the centre of Western Australia’s latest COVID-19 scare has arrived at Geraldton Port, with a previously symptomatic crew member to be tested for the virus.

The WA Health Department said the crew member from the Key Integrity bulk carrier would be tested by a nurse in full protective gear, with results to be fast-tracked and returned within hours.

There are 20 crew members on the vessel, with only one having reported any symptoms.

The man was described as “previously symptomatic” and isolating in his cabin, with the Health Department saying an outbreak team was “on standby”.

There are 20 crew members on the Key Integrity bulk carrier, with only one having reported any COVID-19 symptoms. Photo: ABC News/Laura Meachim

“The Department of Health would like to reassure the Geraldton community they are not at risk,” the Department said in a statement.

“The Key Integrity will remain berthed and no crew will disembark.

“The State Health Incident Coordination Centre is well experienced at managing vessel outbreaks, proven by the recent success of the Patricia Oldendorff vessel outbreak in Port Hedland.”

Health Minister urges action

The latest COVID-19 concerns on an export vessel follow two outbreaks in as many weeks on bulk carriers off the Port Hedland coast.

Seventeen of the 21 crew members from the Patricia Oldendorff manganese carrier tested positive for the virus, with 12 having to be brought to shore and into hotel quarantine in Port Hedland.

Just as the ship departed following the recovery of all infected workers, seven people on the Vega Dream iron ore carrier also tested positive.

Just one of those crew members was brought to shore and eventually flown to Perth to enter hotel quarantine, with the ship departing for the Philippines after declining further assistance from WA officials.

Like those two vessels, the crew from the Key Integrity departed from Manila, having left on October 6.

Health Minister Roger Cook has called on the Federal Government to help prevent infected crews from coming to WA. Photo: ABC News

The WA government has previously warned of shortcomings in Filipino quarantine procedures after the two earlier outbreaks.

“The Commonwealth should be reaching out to the Filipino Government to say, ‘Look, get your house in order’,” Mr Cook said earlier this week.

“I’ve got nothing against Manila-based crews, I just want Western Australians to be protected from COVID-19.

“So whatever it takes, I expect those mining companies, the Commonwealth government and other agencies to take the necessary steps they need to.”