Maritime Safety Queensland have announced tougher border control measures in light of the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus.
Maritime Safety Queensland have announced tougher border control measures in light of the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus.

Coal ship under coronavirus cloud departs Gladstone

An international coal ship forced to remain at anchor off Gladstone when a crew member exhibited flu-like symptoms appears to have departed.

The health of a crew member on-board the Ultra Bellambi was being monitored last week amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Ship tracking data shows the vessel arriving at Gladstone Port on Saturday before departing yesterday.

A nurse from Gladstone Hospital was flown to the ship to assess the man and take swabs on Wednesday afternoon.

Last week Maritime Safety Queensland announced tougher border control measures in light of the ongoing threat posed by the virus.

General manager Angus Mitchell said that as of last Thursday "ships must not enter a Queensland pilotage area if they left, or transited through mainland China on or after February 1, 2020".

"The ship must not enter a Queensland pilotage area until 14 days have elapsed since its departure from mainland China," he said.

All foreign ships scheduled to arrive in Queensland ports are required to detail whether any crew or passenger has visited Hubei Province in the past 14 days, or visited mainland China since February 1.

"In addition, they must report if any crew or passenger has shown signs of the novel coronavirus, including fever, flu-like symptoms, cough, sore throat, headache or difficulty breathing," Mr Mitchell said.

"If any ship answers yes to any of these questions, isolation guidelines for crew have been developed by MSQ which have been broadly circulated to the maritime industry and must be adhered to."

CFMEU mining and energy unit district vice-president Shane Brunker said the onus should not be on ships' captains to provide information about the health of their crews.

"The pressure these companies and agents are putting on the captains is going to lead to a breakdown in our quarantine standards," Mr Brunker said.

Instead the union wants biosecurity to inspect every ship before it arrives at port.