Photo: Port Hedland inner harbour; Photo courtesy of Pilbara Ports Authority

7 crew members aboard MOL’s bulker test positive for Coronavirus

Seven crew members deployed on MOL’s Capesize bulker Vega Dream have tested positive for COVID-19, the Japanese shipping company confirmed.

The 2010-built vessel, manned by 20 crew members, arrived in Port Hedland, Western Australia, on October 3, after carrying out a crew change at the end of September.

MOL said that among the infected seafarers, one crew member boarded the ship on August 13 and six crew members boarded Vega Dream on September 24, which is the latest crewchange for the vessel.

One seafarer has been isolated at the Hedland Health Campus, and the remaining six with no symptoms are isolated onboard.

The other thirteen crew members, also showing no symptoms of COVID-19, have tested negative, MOL said.

“All crew members have boarded in compliance with the Department of Transportation in the Philippines, Protocol for Crew Change and Repatriation, as well as being quarantined and tested negative in the Philippines prior to joining the vessel,” MOL pointed out.

The bulker berthed in Port Hedland on October 10, and completed cargo operation on October 11. Vega Dream has currently unberthed and anchored off Port Hedland.

Patricia Oldendorff outbreak

The infections are being reported on the back of the Coronavirus outbreak on Patricia Oldendorff bulk carrier, which had 18 infection cases on board.

The vessel arrived off Port Hedland on September 16, after carrying out a crew change in the Philippines on September 5.

According to the German shipowner Oldendorff Carriers, all joining crewmembers were quarantined in the Philippines prior to joining the vessel and tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines.

Australian health authorities ordered the crew to be quarantined, with 12 crew members quarantining in the Hedland Hotel. 

The infected crew members had mild symptoms of the infection, while some of them had no symptoms at all, according to Oldendorff.

On October 10, Western Australia’s Department of Health declared the outbreak on Patricia Oldendorff was over after 18 of the 21 crew members recovered from the virus.

Three crew members were not cleared to return to the vessel at the time and had their travel arrangements agreed with individual employers.

The ship left the Australian port on Sunday and is currently underway towards Tanjung, Indonesia, based on its AIS data.

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