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3 August, 2021

Careful planning should result in no risk to community

Strict protocols should ensure that Cape York residents are at no risk of catching COVID-19 from the crew members who were transported to Weipa and put on a plane to Brisbane.


Vance Wallin, the owner of Carpentaria Contracting, said there was no way for the crew members from MV Sanyu to pass it onto his three workers who transported them from their anchor point to the Evans Landing wharf.

“They were in full protective gear and upstairs and had no contact with the crew,” he said.

“Before they went out to pick them up, we put chairs out on the deck for them to sit on. At no point did they go inside the vessel (Strait Shooter) or interact with anyone that wasn’t a medical person in full protective gear.

“From the wharf, they got straight into a mini van and were taken to Weipa Hospital.”

Mr Wallin was not a member of the three-man team that operated Strait Shooter.

He instead flew in three Cairns employees and they are now isolating on another boat, ensuring that no shortcuts are taken to protect the Weipa and wider community.

Carpentaria Contracting did two runs, transporting five crew members on Wednesday night and another five crew members on Thursday morning.

The two crew members that had originally tested negative to COVID-19 were airlifted off the vessel and taken to Cairns, but have since tested positive and were transported to Brisbane.

Nine crew members, all with COVID-19, have been left on board the vessel to ensure the ship’s safety.

“The removal of the crew from the ship and their transfer by air from Weipa by retrieval aircraft posed minimal risk to anyone involved, or to the public of Weipa,” Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service CEO Bev Hamerton said.

“The transfer of crew from the ship to Weipa airport and subsequent retrieval by air to south-east Queensland hospitals was undertaken under the strictest infection control procedures.

“Everyone involved in the process was masked and wore full personal protection equipment – including the affected crew members.

“There was no contact with anyone not immediately involved in the retrieval process.

“They were transported from the wharf to the airport in a Torres and Cape HHS vehicle, driven by a staff member from the Weipa Integrated Health Service. The health service vehicle also was followed by an ambulance if needed.

“Both the vessel that transported the crew from ship to shore and the vehicle that transported them to the airport were deep cleaned before each transfer, as well as after the final transfer.

“All health and emergency service personnel involved in the movement of the ship’s crew, along with any other officials involved, will have their health monitored daily for the next 14 days to ensure their continued safety.

“Torres and Cape HHS clinical staff will continue to support Maritime Safety Queensland in monitoring the health of the crew remaining aboard the affected ship.

“No staff from Weipa Integrated Health Service have been on the ship.”


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