Our ports are a gateway to the country and not only provide access for freight but can provide an entry point for deadly disease and other biological security threats.
...said the Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin.
With Australian ports welcoming several foreign ships, carrying international cargo and using international crews every day, the Maritime Union of Australia urges the Federal Government and Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie, whose portfolio covers biosecurity, to act immediately:
"By addressing and highlighting the deficiencies in a system that allows foreign vessels to trade in and out of Australian ports, with little more than an email as proof that the vessel and its crew comply with biosecurity protocols" as Paddy Crumlin commented.
Merchant ships must self-declare any quarantine or biosecurity threats before entering into Australian ports. The union further noted that the majority of the merchant cargo vessels are unlikely to have a doctor onboard, meaning that untrained seafarers find it difficult to diagnose the coronavirus.
Australian workers are going out onto to these vessels and having direct contact with foreign seafarers prior to them entering the port. Tugboat crews are receiving ships equipment that may have been in contact with infected seafarers. It shouldn’t be left to these workers to provide Australia’s response to an international, viral threat.
...Paddy Crumlin concluded.