Authorities are expected to receive COVID-19 test results from a ship anchored off the Queensland coast amid fears the crew could be infected with a mystery strain of the virus.

New Zealand alerted Australian officials on Sunday that the MV Sofrana Surville’s 19 crew members could be infected with a new strain of the virus.

The freighter was blocked from docking in Brisbane and is currently floating off Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast while health officials work out what to do next.

Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell says the Sofrana remains isolated in a “negative quarantine status”.

This restricts the movement of people on and off the vessel.

Virus testing is understood to have been completed on Wednesday by a private pathologist contracted by the ship’s agent, with results expected on Thursday.

“A decision will be made on the next steps when the results are known,” Mr Mitchell said in a statement.


The ship left New Zealand earlier in the month with fresh crew from the Philippines before stopping at Noumea in New Caledonia.

It then sailed for Brisbane.

New Zealand alerted local authorities the crew could be infected after an engineer who had worked on the Sofrana tested positive.