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'COVID ship' allowed to anchor off Brisbane, medical teams to board

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Health workers will assess COVID-positive crew on board a British-flagged tanker ship after it was given permission to anchor off Brisbane.

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It’s understood the Inge Kosan requested to come to Queensland and is expected to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“This vessel is scheduled to arrive in the coming days, pending weather,” a Queensland Health spokesperson told AAP on Monday.

“Health workers will board the ship to assess crew members once it is safe to do so.

“Decisions regarding treatment of confirmed cases will be made following the assessment.”

A state government source said the management of COVID-19 cases was determined upon the arrival of a vessel, including whether those on board would be brought to shore.

Workers boarded the Inge Kosan at Sydney’s Port Botany on March 31 and April 1 wearing protective gear and did not contract the virus.

The tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas has come from PNG, where the coronavirus pandemic is escalating.

It travelled from Port Botany to deliver fuel to the sprawling Pacific nation of Vanuatu.

Blood samples were sent to Sydney and 11 of the 12 crew – and another crew member whose body washed up on a Vanuatu beach – all tested positive to coronavirus.

The ship had been scheduled to deliver fuel to the Solomon Islands, but it was reportedly refused entry.

When asked about the vessel, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs said only that the Australian Border Force has responsibility for customs and immigration clearance and works closely with local state and territory health officials.

“Quarantine arrangements, and exemptions from them, are a matter for each state and territory,” a spokesman said.

A spokesman for the shipping company BW Epic Kosan said last week that members of the crew were “asymptomatic” and the company was continuing to monitor their status.

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