Namely, wharfies refused to unload a container vessel at the DP World terminal in Melbourne due to safety grounds, identifying it as a risk to workers and the community. The vessel docked in breach of the Federal Government’s 14-day coronavirus quarantine period.

The Maritime Union of Australia said wharfies understood their important role during the current crisis, but allowing the container vessel XIN DA LIAN to breach the coronavirus quarantine period was simply too great a risk.

The union is also calling for a suite of measures to be cooperatively implemented to protect workers and the community and to keep the supply chains operating.

However, Shipping Australia responded that this action by the Union attempted 'to whip up panic and fear for their own selfish ends.'

Shipping Australia added that the union has falsely claimed that a cargo vessel has docked in breach of 14-day quarantine rules.

The fact is that the 14-day quarantine applies to crew members who must remain onboard until the 14-day period has elapsed. The Federal government has not imposed a 14-day quarantine on commercial cargo vessels, which are permitted to berth and work cargo on arrival

It also added that the Union's statement confuses cruise ships with cargo vessels, which have completely different risk profiles.