Concerns about crew movement from freight vessels docking in regional ports have been allayed, following a question asked in State Parliament this week by Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP.
Mr Brock asked for advice and assurances for regional communities that where overseas freight vessels were berthing in Port Pirie that crew would be restricted from mingling with the general community unless cleared of the coronavirus.
“I explained to the chamber that Port Pirie, as with other regional ports, had numerous vessels berthing from various overseas and coastal locations to load and offload various commodities,” Mr Brock said.
“In a normal course of events, seamen visit the community, in particular supermarkets, to obtain fresh produce, and this is now a cause of grave concern with both retail staff and the public.”
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone MP told Mr Brock that measures and protocols were being put in place by Flinders Port Holdings to protect the South Australian community, while ensuring our ports remained fully operational for necessary trade, including agricultural produce.
In line with Australian and State government border restrictions, the is a 14-day exclusion period for all international vessels intended to arrive less than 14 days from their last port of call before arriving in Australia. This also applies to vessels where international crew have joined and been on board for less than 14 days from their last port of call.
Crew are to be restricted to their individual ships and no shore leave is to be granted, unless exceptional circumstances (such as a medical emergency) warrant such an exemption.
Ship’s crew will be permitted to come onto the wharf to perform their normal functions but will be restricted to the vessel and the working quay line adjacent to the vessel.
If a crew member is required to disembark for critical vessel duties alongside, then they are required to wear appropriate protective gear (including a face mask, glasses and gloves), practice good hand hygiene and minimise their contact with port staff.
“All crew arriving from international destinations are required to have completed a 14 day self-isolation period in line with the Australian Government self-isolation requirements. Exceptions to these restrictions may only be applied by the Australian Border Force, which would only be in exceptional circumstances,” Mr Whetstone said.