Coronavirus: Deep clean on Al Messilah ship docked at Fremantle Port as Key Integrity crew test negative

Michael Ramsey AAPThe West Australian
The Al Messilah docked at Fremantle Port.
Camera IconThe Al Messilah docked at Fremantle Port. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The Sunday Times

West Australian authorities have commenced a deep clean of the coronavirus-infected Al Messilah livestock ship, while crew aboard another vessel have returned negative tests.

The Department of Health says 18 crew members from the Key Integrity bulk carrier have tested negative.

Two crew members have tested positive, including a Filipino crewman in his 40s whose case was recorded in Wednesday’s official tally.

All of the Key Integrity’s crew members remain aboard the ship docked at Fremantle Port, with the infected men isolating in their cabins.

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“It’s really pleasing to just have the two positive cases,” Health Minister Roger Cook said on Wednesday.

The Key Integrity at Fremantle Port.
Camera IconThe Key Integrity at Fremantle Port. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

“Obviously we now need to look after those crew members and make sure there’s no further spread of the disease.”

A deep clean of the Al Messilah, also docked at Fremantle Port, commenced on Wednesday.

Almost half of the ship’s 52 crew have tested positive.

Thirty-six crew members have been moved into hotel quarantine, leaving a skeleton crew of 16 aboard.

Mr Cook says the ship will depart once the deep clean has been completed and a sufficient number of crew members have recovered.

Premier Mark McGowan faced criticism on Tuesday for not disclosing that two Australian crew members, a vet from Sydney and a stock manager from Busselton in WA’s southwest, had disembarked and been allowed to travel home to quarantine.

The pair tested negative.

Health Minister Roger Cook.
Camera IconHealth Minister Roger Cook. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

There have now been six COVID-19 outbreaks on ships arriving into WA, including four in the last month, prompting calls for the Commonwealth to ensure greater international cooperation with crew changeover protocols.

“Obviously we have a moral and to some extent a legal responsibility to look after the sick and the unwell,” Mr Cook said.

“But we’d hate to reward these ship owners and vessels with a fresh load of cargo if they’re not actually doing the right thing by us by bringing clean crew with them.”

WA has 40 active cases but has not recorded any community transmission in six months.

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