Western Australia: Multiple virus threats as Stolt Sakura makes its way

WA residents are bracing after multiple Covid threats have appeared — with a warning as a ship containing positive crew makes its way.

West Australian residents are bracing after multiple Covid-19 threats have appeared from both the sky and the sea.

On Tuesday, it was revealed one of two Victorian men who allegedly used false documents to fly to Perth and attend the AFL grand final has returned an inconclusive Covid-19 test result and will receive another result Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile a positive case on a military flight that left an RAAF base in Queensland bound for Perth has forced all 21 people on board into hotel quarantine.

The passengers and crew aboard the flight are believed to have been tested before takeoff on Tuesday, with the result confirmed while in the air.

But health authorities have revealed a third threat en route to Western Australia — the Stolt Sakura — which is “steaming” towards Australia.

The Stolt is an oil and chemical tanker built in 2011 that sails under the Cayman Islands flag.

The ship left Singapore last Thursday and is due to arrive in Fremantle on Friday.

By the time the ship was well into its journey on Sunday, some of the crew reported flu-like symptoms and after rapid-antigen testing, at least 11 of its 22 crew members have tested positive for Covid-19.

Before docking in Singapore, the vessel had previously sailed to South Korea, China and Taiwan between September and August.

“You’ve got a foreign vessel coming in, a foreign aircraft coming in, and then Australians who are breaking the rules,” WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said.

“And they think that COVID is not going to get here. They’d be kidding themselves.”

West Australian authorities are usually well practised in handling coronavirus-infected ships but in a press conference on Tuesday, Commissioner Dawson described it as an “unfolding situation” and said police would work with health officials and trhe Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

“The WA Health Department and police will be working with relevant authorities, including the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Fremantle Port Authority in regard to this unfolding situation,” he said.

Last month, a ship carrying at least 16 people suspected of having Covid-19 arrived at Fremantle Port, with the crew tested on the dock.

In July, the virus-infected BBC California docked at Fremantle Port saw at least 10 infections on the ship, with Premier Mark McGowan declaring at the time: “I don’t want West Australians’ hard work to be undone.”

In July again, the bulk carrier Darya Krishna berthed at Fremantle Port soon for a medical emergency evacuation.

Perth on edge after inconclusive test result

Commissioner Dawson revealed on Tuesday night two Victorian men had both been tested for Covid-19 and one had returned an inconclusive result.

The men allegedly used false documents to enter Perth and attend the AFL grand final.

Prominent Melbourne restaurateur Hayden Burbank, 49, and his 39-year-old financial planner friend Mark Babbage allegedly left Melbourne for Darwin on September 14 and then flew to Perth on September 22.

The pair will appear in court on Wednesday, where police will allege they falsified documents in order to enter Western Australia.

He said the man would be tested again, with the results expected on Wednesday morning.

Originally published as Western Australia braces for multiple virus threats


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