A supply ship that has been avoiding the global impact of coronavirus for the past 18 months has returned to Australia’s west coast after a fire broke out in one of its engines.
But during the mission, the coronavirus pandemic broke out – lengthening the trip for those onboard by a year and a half.
“That’s two Christmases, two New Year’s Eves, two birthdays,” Davis Station Leader David Knoff told 9News.
“We got 4G for the first time, had to download all the apps to sign into places.”
While making its way to Hobart, a fire erupted in one of the engines last Monday forcing the Everest to detour to Fremantle instead.
None of the ship’s 72 expeditioners or 37 crew members were injured and while those onboard were anticipating a two-week quarantine period before they can finally set foot back on Australian land, this has now been ruled out.
While this is good news for those onboard the Everest, there are fears tonight a second crew member on another ship anchored off WA’s north-west coast has contracted COVID-19.
The AquaGenie crew member returned a positive result to an onboard rapid coronavirus test and is showing mild symptoms.
Health Minister Roger Cook said any potential infection still needs to be confirmed by a more accurate test and authorities are now waiting to hear if the man will be taken to Karratha.
If confirmed, it would be the second COVID-19 case from the AquaGenie – after a Filipino man was evacuated to Karratha and flown to Perth.
He has since been moved from Royal Perth Hospital to hotel quarantine – where he will stay until he recovers.