The infection of the crew when sailing the Patricia Oldendorff into Port Hedland is a stark reminder of the risks Western Australia’s Maritime Borders poses to our community.
Across Western Australia’s 17 ports, we have vessels arriving from Coronavirus hotspots with as little as 6 days at sea.
Today in the Port of Fremantle we have the Elizabeth Oldendorff which arrives from Cilacap in Central Java after only 9 days at sea and will berth in Kwinana after only 11 days.
Once berthed the crew of the vessel will work in close proximity to Western Australian port services employees and wharfies to discharge the vessels cargo.
With an unreliable quarantine system and less than 14 days since departing a world coronavirus hotspot, it is vessels like these that present a grave risk to the Western Australian community.
The Government has done the right thing at the Airports and land borders but the neglect of the maritime borders in a state with Australia’s largest coastline is reckless and not acceptable.
Other Australian states including Queensland and Tasmania have taken the sensible approach to the risk by implementing restrictions on vessels arriving before they have served their 14-day period at sea.
If WA doesn’t follow suit, it is only a matter of time before WA’s casual approach to maritime borders leads to a massive outbreak. When this occurs, the McGowan Government must be held to account.