Western Australia is again on COVID-19 alert after a bulk carrier in waters off Perth reported it was carrying crew members with flu-like symptoms.
The Darya Krishna was on Monday morning travelling south off Yanchep, a coastal town about 56km north of Perth.
The vessel left Singapore on July 18 and was heading to Kwinana, south of the CBD, where it’s supposed to dock later in the day.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Sunday it’s believed about four of the 20 crew on board had flu-like symptoms.
While none of the sick have been confirmed as having COVID-19, authorities are concerned because the ship had docked in the Indonesian port of Batam on its way to Australia.
Indonesia is in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak that has so far resulted in more than 1500 deaths since it began some weeks ago. The total number of infections is more than 3.1 million.
Last week, 10 crew members of another vessel – the BBC California – tested positive for the virus after the cargo ship docked in Fremantle.
All 10 cases from the vessel, including two that are no longer active, have now been confirmed as carrying the Delta strain.
As of Sunday, eight cases remained aboard.
The BBC California had visited ports in virus-plagued Indonesia before docking in Fremantle.
Another vessel that recently visited Indonesia, the Mattina container ship, has also had an outbreak after departing Fremantle bound for New Zealand.
WA authorities have contacted 25 local ship workers who had contact with the ship but are confident none were infected.
Mr McGowan raised the issue of visiting ships at last Friday’s national cabinet meeting.
State and federal transport ministers agreed to examine what could be done in conjunction with major shipping companies, with a focus on preventing crew members from roaming the streets while in Indonesia.
“The shipping companies need to put effort into keeping their crews on board when they’re in Indonesian ports,” Mr McGowan said.
“The prime minister was very good about it. He acknowledges it’s a major problem.”
WA has closed its borders to NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia as the eastern states deal with outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant.