Queensland orders foreign trading vessels to self-quarantine

Maritime officials in Queensland, Australia have ordered all foreign trading ships to self-quarantine before entering their ports. A Maritime Safety Queensland directive said that ships would not be allowed to enter Queensland ports until at least 14 days since the ship’s departure from mainland China or South Korea, or if the ship or any persons on board has travelled or transited through a country outside of Australia, beginning March 16th or later.

Ships are required to report immediately if any crew member or passenger is showing any symptoms for Covid-19 such as fever, flu-like symptoms, cough, sore throat, headache or difficulty breathing.

This means that a ship which left a port outside Australian Territorial Waters after 23:59 on March 15th would not be allowed to enter a Queensland pilotage area until 14 days after the ship left the previous port.

Australian group Shipping Australia said that the ban would put desperately needed goods at risk. Shipping Australia CEO Rod Nairn said that “the MSQ policy is reckless and indefensible. Cargo ship crews are probably the lowest risk sector in the world, with not one cargo ship crew member yet being confirmed as having Covid-19”.

On a federal level the Australian prime minister has prohibited crew members of commercial vessels that have visited mainland China in the previous 14 days from disembarking while berthed in Australia.