No contact for ship crews

NO CONTACT: Flinders Ports has restrictions in place for visiting ship crews at its ports, including at Thevenard.
NO CONTACT: Flinders Ports has restrictions in place for visiting ship crews at its ports, including at Thevenard.

Flinders Ports' says it is doing what it can to ensure the safety of crews and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping ship crews out of contact with local workers and community members.

The company operates ports across the state, including on Eyre Peninsula at Thevenard and Port Lincoln.

With crews coming into ports from a variety of domestic and international locations, and with South Australian borders now closed to deal with the spread of coronavirus, it has meant changes in operation and the ability of crews to interact with community members.

A company spokesperson said Flinders Ports was operating in line with government guidance and requirements.

"The South Australian state government has now closed its borders and has mandated a 14 day self-isolation period for every person that visits the state," the statement read.

"As a result, Flinders Ports are now restricting any visiting crews to their individual ships.

"No shore leave is being granted to any ship's crew. They will be permitted to come on to the wharf to perform their normal functions but they will be isolated from local port staff and the public."

The company said its main concern was the well-being of staff and the community.

"Our understanding is that the Australian Border Force (ABF) will also be increasing the number of patrols at all South Australian ports to ensure these new rules are adhered to," the spokesperson said.

"The ABF also has dedicated CCTV monitoring all berths, vessels, and crew movements at our ports.

"Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our staff and the public. And, in line with government guidance, we will ensure that we play our role in containing coronavirus as best we can."

Daine Burden of the Thevenard Mission to Seafarers said operations were shut down last week because of the situation and that meant the group had no contact with incoming crews.

He said they could still help crews if called upon, but that has not yet happened.

"It was decided we are a greater risk to them than they are to us, as we could take the virus on board and they are already isolated," he said.

"We had a directive from the Australian council to cease operations.

"The only way we could help out would be if we had items delivered to the gate at the wharf and passed on."

He said an issue was a number of ships did not have WiFi capabilities and that crew members relied on coming into Ceduna to contact family members, but were now unable to do so.

"Unfortunately, that's a humanitarian issue of this, but this is the way it has to be for now."