The bulk carrier, Patricia Oldendorff, is currently anchored off Port Hedland, Western Australia, after 17 crewmembers aboard have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

A statement from the vessel owners says they have expressed their concern about the health and wellbeing of its crewmembers and those caring for them.

“They have had excellent support from the Australian Department of Health, AMSA, and the Pilbara Ports Authority. The authorities have been managing the situation with the utmost professionalism. Every effort is being made to contain and improve the situation as quickly as possible,” the statement said.

“The company, being aware that this is also a difficult time for the families of the crewmembers, they have been informed and are being updated on the situation daily.”

There was a crew change aboard the vessel in the Philippines on September 5, 2020. The crew change was done in compliance with the Department of Transportation in the Philippines, Protocol for Crew Change, and Repatriation.

All joining crewmembers were quarantined in the Philippines prior to joining the vessel. Approximately five days before joining the vessel, all crewmembers were tested with the viral RNA-PCR test. All crewmembers tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines.

The vessel arrived off Port Hedland on September 16th and has been at anchor since. The Master notified the Port Hedland authorities on arrival that two crewmembers were not feeling well. The authorities arranged for the crew to be tested and two crewmembers initially tested positive for the virus.

Subsequent RNA-PCR tests have shown that 17 crewmembers have now tested positive. Fortunately, all crew members on board as well as in shore-quarantine are feeling well with only a few seamen showing very slight infection symptoms.

The authorities have arranged for a cleaning gang to go aboard the vessel and do a thorough cleaning of all surfaces.

“The company’s biggest concern is the health and wellbeing of the people involved. Our thoughts are with the crewmembers, caregivers, and their families at this difficult time.

We will take all precautions to avoid the spread of the virus. We are very grateful for the humanitarian support of the Port Hedland community at large who have been very generous to our crewmembers,” the statement concludes.