Covid on the doorstep

The BBC California docked in Fremantle harbour. Photo by Steve Grant.

FREMANTLE port’s C-Shed remains off-limits as the crew of freighter BBC California wait out their Covid isolation. 

Ten of the ship’s crew have tested positive to the coronavirus and the ship was diverted to Fremantle from Kwinana on Monday after the captain requested medical treatment. The ship’s arrival had premier Mark McGowan suggesting a maritime border with Indonesia, which is suffering a surge in Covid infections.

Three of the unaffected crew were transferred to hotel quarantine on Wednesday, while Mr McGowan says they’ll try to treat their shipmates aboard as long as possible.

But the decision to plonk the virus held responsible for 4.1 million deaths around the globe on Freo’s doorstep wasn’t welcomed by all locals.

Inner city resident Anthony Brown said he watched events unfold with “incredulity”.

“With over 10,000 kilometres of coastline in Western Australia, on wonders why the state government have decided 

to berth the latest Covid-19 carrying vessel adjacent to Fremantle’s CBD, metres from E-Shed markets, Fremantle station and bus port, ferry jetty and close to the commercial and residential areas of the city,” Mr Brown said.

“The old spiel about proximity to services doesn’t wash with me, as there are many alternatives that these lazy bureaucrats didn’t consider as they obviously do not reside in Fremantle.

“This is a worldwide pandemic, not a flu outbreak; who knows what variants they may be carrying and how transmissible they are.”

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