WA Health Minister Roger Cook says he feels “let down” by the Philippines’ procedures to contain the spread of COVID in the maritime industries, saying he would work closely with State and Federal counterparts to “stop it at the source”. It comes after WA yesterday recorded zero new COVID infections, with 17 of the 21 crew members from the Patricia Oldendorff having now tested positive for coronavirus. Mr Cook said a number of questions had been raised about the quarantine process in the Philippines, where the crew boarded the ship, after it was revealed a two-tier system saw ship officers quarantine at home surrounded by family members, while seafarers were ordered to hotel quarantine. “We feel let down in terms of the protocols that are in place in the source, which is Manila, and that's why we're working closely with Minister MacTiernan to see if we can stop this at its source, rather than having to defend Western Australians,” he said. “There are a number of questions which need to be answered. “Did all those crew quarantine for 14 days before they departed? Did they quarantine in an appropriate facility? Were they isolated from those who were infectious? We expect the Federal Government to play an important role in (getting answers for) this.” The ship, which had carried 20 Filipino nationals and the captain, has been anchored nine nautical miles off WA’s north-west coast since September 16, with seven of the nine crew onboard confirmed as infected with coronavirus. The other two crew members have returned a negative result from the Serology test, which detects antibodies. In a statement released by Oldendorff Carriers, the company backed quarantine processes put in place. “There was a crew change aboard the vessel in the Philippines on September 5, 2020,” the statement said. “The crew change was done in compliance with the Department of Transportation in the Philippines, Protocol for Crew Change and Repatriation. All joining crew members were quarantined in the Philippines prior to joining the vessel.” “Approximately five days before joining the vessel, all crew members were tested with the viral RNA-PCR test. All crew members tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines.” Despite the statement, WA Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan labelled the Philippines’ process as “a very risky proposition.” “Since the calling of the pandemic we’ve had 4000 vessels visit Port Hedland and more than 100,000 seafarers manning those vessels,” she said. “This is the first incident we’ve had and we are very confident the systems we have in place have absolutely worked. One of the issues that have now been revealed to us is perhaps the quarantine provisions in other countries have systemic flaws in them. “The Philippines have a two-tiered quarantined system. After testing, the officers were allowed to go back into home quarantine whilst the seafarers were in hotel quarantine.” “This, I think, is a very risky proposition, and one we're working with the Federal Government to take up with the Philippine government. We're looking at whether we'll be demanding something higher than the official standard if crews are changed in the Philippines.” Health Minister Roger Cook said authorities were trying to work out the best way to bring the remainder of the Filipino crew to shore and clean the vessel, while maintaining the essential operations required to keep it running. He said the Government wanted to avoid a situation where the Patricia Oldendorff was left without a crew and became what was known in maritime terminology as a “dead ship”. The Government is in talks with the ship’s agent about flying in a replacement crew, who are currently in hotel quarantine in Perth. “Our hotel quarantine procedures in Port Hedland are exactly the same as those in Perth,” Mr Cook said. He said the crew at the Hedland Hotel were “well and truly locked down” and there was no public health risk to the community. The Navy were seen patrolling the Hedland Hotel on Wednesday ahead of the arrival of up to 10 Australian Defence Force personnel, expected on Thursday. There are currently 192 ADF personnel deployed to Western Australia as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist. 121 personnel are involved in quarantine assistance at hotels and at Perth Airport. WA Health representatives held a public forum yesterday to answer questions and alleviate concerns from the local Port Hedland community.