Seafarer jumps ship, charged with breaking Covid-19 protocols in Western Australia

A Vietnamese seafarer who jumped ship in Albany and swam to shore over the weekend created headlines and a Covid-19 scare in Western Australia.

Ho Anh Dung allegedly swam to shore and checked into a hostel before being apprehended by authorities. He tested negative for Covid-19 and is now waiting a day in court later this week. His ship, the Sakizaya Champion bulk carrier, is due to leave Albany for South Africa today.

The 37-year-old was charged with breaching Covid-19 protocols.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Glad to see some traditions are kept alive. Jumping ship was a hazard of operating British ships into Australian and New Zealand ports. I’ve seen ships with almost no crew, having to wait for replacements to be flown in.Ships in those days spent weeks in port, long enough for Jack tar to fall in love and disappear. I believe the rule in NZ was “if you can stay free and undetained by police for a month you can stay. l think the Aussie rule was similar. Mind you, those were all British nationals. I assume that that has all gone now, and he’ll be put back on his ship before it leaves. His fate in the hands of his employer will not be pretty. He has cost them some cost and embarrassment. Better if well-meaning Aussie’s take up his cause and try to have him stay.

  2. Sad story. Sad that a seaman his circumstances are such that he feels that he has no other option than to jump ship and sad that a seaman coming ashore is seen as a threat to public health.

    The present pandemic circumstances have affected seaman’s life dramatically and the number of seamen in despair is growing by the day.

  3. Ian Urbina’s “The Outlaw Ocean” has a chapter on Sea Slavery and one of the most prolific states involved in such practices is Thailand. Yes the books deals mostly with fishing boats and their crews, but the practice appears to be more general. Jumping ship just before his ship is due to depart may be a sign that he did not want to be put back on board again, perhaps to escape the conditions or his superiors. Life is very different on board ships today and we have been hearing so much about seafarers unable to get ashore at the end of their contract, we must also consider those seafarers, and perhaps Ho Anh Dung is an example, who would prefer to jump ship and into an area where COVID 19 is being strongly controlled to escape.

  4. Deserting ships was in vogue till 60s but very negligible from 80s onwards. With improvement in communication with folks back home there is little craze amongst crew members to jump ships, instead they look forward to return home asas their tour of duty is nearing an end.

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