Seventeen crewmembers aboard Patricia Oldendorff bulk carrier have tested positive for the Coronavirus, German shipowner Oldendorff Carriers informed.

The 114,753 dwt bulker, built in 2010, is currently anchored off Port Hedland, Western Australia.

“We are very concerned about the health and wellbeing of our crewmembers and those caring for them. We have had excellent support from the Australian Department of Health, AMSA and the Pilbara Ports Authority,” the company said, adding that efforts were underway being to “contain and improve the situation as quickly as possible.”

The families of the affected crewmembers have been informed and are being updated on the situation daily.

The company said that there was a crew change aboard the vessel in the Philippines on September 5, 2020.

As disclosed, 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 5 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,” Oldendorff informed.

The vessel arrived off Port Hedland on September 16 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.

Oldendorff said that 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.

“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 shipowner pointed out.

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