Pilbara Ports Authority tightens COVID-19 security

BHP Port Hedland operations. Image: BHP

The Pilbara Ports Authority has alerted that all vessels calling at the Port of Dampier, Western Australia will only be considered for berthing after completing a 14-day quarantine period since last departing an international port.

This is aimed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, subject to no crew members having fallen ill or showing any COVID-19 symptoms during the 14-day period or prior berthing.

Crew members must have their temperatures taken and recorded twice daily for the 14 days prior to the ship anchoring at the Port of Dampier.

All international vessels entering the Port of Dampier and other Pilbara ports, Port Hedland and Port of Ashburton, must be vetted by the Australian Border Force and granted a “healthy” ship, with border force staff required to complete intensive interrogation of the ship’s circumstances before entering.

The regulations apply to any vessel with crew or passengers who have left, or transited through any country other than Australia in the past 14 days.

This follows six crew members onboard BHP charter vessel Vega Dream, which berthed at Port Hedland, contracting COVID-19 on-route to Western Australia from China via the Philippines in October.

The crew members were transferred to Hedland Health Campus for isolation.

Pilbara Ports Authority will take several conditions into consideration for ships that are requesting berth at Port of Dampier, including previous port calls and operations, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and photographic evidence of COVID-19 precautions being implemented at previous ports by crew members.

Crew members must also comply with social distancing as much as possible while on board and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from the marine pilot during berthing and unberthing at the port.

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