COVID-hit Bulk Carrier Leaves Australia
A Panama-flagged bulk carrier with a coronavirus outbreak on board has sailed from its anchorage off Port Hedland and is enroute to Manila, the Philippines.
The clearance for the Vega Dream’s departure was given Wednesday by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The Western Australian Department of Health said it offered assistance to the COVID-19 positive crew "in line with its commitment to humanitarian care", but medical intervention was not required and declined.
Prior to embarking on its voyage, the Australian 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 other ships hit by COVID-19 outbreaks, including Artania, Al Kuwait and Patricia Oldendorff.
On October 11, Australian health officials said a crew member was transferred from the Vega Dream and taken to Hedland Health Campus for clinical care. The crew member returned a positive COVID-19 test and was said to be stable and isolated from the general hospital population.
The vessel is fully loaded with iron ore, and its remaining 19 seafarers have remained on board in line with standard maritime procedures, and have not disembarked or had contact with public.