of our members and a commitment from the NT Government that this will not happen again.”
The Tacoma Trader has now been diverted to Port Hedland, which will significantly impact delivery of cargo into the Territory. The union also warned that the quarantining of a large part of the workforce will impact the ability to load and unload other vessels at the Port of Darwin.
Mr Evans said the incident highlighted the union’s repeated warnings that Australia’s COVID biosecurity measures — which vary between states and territories — are fundamentally flawed.
“The MUA has written to National Cabinet on a number of occasions, highlighting flaws in Australia’s biosecurity measures, and urging an immediate overhaul to create a nationally-consistent regime for addressing the very real threat of COVID arriving on international commercial vessels,” he said.
“This issue is particularly important for the NT, because the territory’s close proximity to Asia means most vessels are arriving less than 14 days after departing foreign ports.
“What we need is the rapid testing of all seafarers arriving in Australian ports, ensuring COVID outbreaks onboard are immediately identified, appropriate health support is provided, and Australian workers are protected from the risk of infection.
“This case highlights the precariousness of the current system, and the very real risk of COVID entering the Australian community through maritime supply chains.
“There is no question that this COVID safety breach is a failure of government; it shows the current approach isn’t working and highlights the urgent need for a nationally consistent approach to address the issue.”