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A cargo ship carrying seven unwell crew members suspected of being infected with COVID-19 has docked in Fremantle.

The BBC California, which has 14 crew — half of which are reporting coronavirus symptoms, had been anchored in Gage Roads.

The bulk carrier powered into the port city just after 8am Monday, so sick workers could be assessed.


7NEWS reports that sick crew disembarked temporarily to be tested.

The process took about 15 minutes before workers were ushered back onto their vessel where they are awaiting the results of rapid testing

The BBC California left Egypt on June 8 and has since visited three ports in Indonesia, where it is believed a worker contracted the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Seven of the 14 crew members aboard became unwell on or about July 12 and the captain had asked for the crew to be medically assessed.

Prior to the vessel berthing, West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said it would do so only for medical assessment.

“We are assuming COVID-19 is onboard this ship, so every precaution will be taken,” he said on Sunday.

Coronavirus crisis: BBC California berths in Fremantle with seven crew members showing COVID-19-like symptoms

Camera IconA cargo ship carrying seven unwell workers suspected to be infected with the coronavirus has docked in the port city. Credit: 7NEWS/ 7NEWS

The sick crew members are six Filipinos and one Russian, with the rest of the crew from Bulgaria, the Ukraine and Russia.

They are isolating in separate cabins and do not currently require medical help.

But Mr McGowan said the risk of a sudden deterioration in their health could lead to a maritime emergency.

“I would have liked this ship to return immediately to Indonesia but this wasn't possible considering the number of ill crew members on board,” he said.

We cannot allow the virus in through international shipping.

Mark McGowan

“If all the crew get sick and can't operate the ship, can't function out on the high seas … who knows what could happen.”

He said Western Australia had successfully dealt with about 10 similar situations since the start of the pandemic.

“We cannot allow the virus in through international shipping,” Mr McGowan said.

The BBC California operates under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda.

WA recorded no new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

The State has seven active cases, of which six are in hotel quarantine and one remains in a stable condition in a Perth hospital.

With AAP

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