Australia has deployed troops to Port Hedland, one of the world's largest iron ore loading ports, to contain the coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the major nautical city of Manila.
Seventeen of the bulk carrier's 21 crews have tested positive for the virus in a statement from the shipowner.
Port Hedland officials said ten infected crew members were quarantined at a local hotel, while seven infected workers remain on board with a crew of nine.
The shipowner stated that the crew change in Manila on September 5 met all protocols.
"Before leaving the Philippines, all crew members tested negative for the virus," the statement said.
The vessel, which was supposed to load the manganese ore used in steelmaking, is currently anchored off Port Headland on Australia's northwest coast.
The port is used by some of Australia's top iron ore miners, including the BHP Group and the Fortescue Metals Group.
The outbreak of coronavirus on the bulk carrier did not affect the port's operation, the Port Authority of Port Pilbara said.
A spokesman for the private manganese producer Consolidated Minerals, who was expecting the vessel, said the new vessel is chartered and will arrive early next week. He added that the outage would not affect annual shipments.