The damaged livestock freighter The Barky Pearl remains in Geraldton Port as the owners seek a means of towing it out of Australian waters.
WA Ports minister Alannah MacTiernan said the damage to the vessel was “more extensive and difficult to correct” than originally thought.
“The latest thinking now is that another large vessel will be brought in which has the ability to dry tow that vessel back to a port in Asia where it can be dry docked and fully repaired,” she said.
“It doesn’t look like that’s going to be able to be done in Geraldton so the owner has indicated that they want to send a large vessel in and do a dry tow.”
Ms MacTiernan said the crew had all been tested for COVID-19 infection.
“The tests have all come back negative but they are still on board the vessel and I think for their sake as much as anything else we want to see the vessel moved,” she said.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has been investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding the damaged to the livestock carrier.
The MV Barkly Pearl vessel took safe harbour in Geraldton on November 3 with serious hull damage after reportedly being lost at sea for five days.
AMSA said it was en route from Singapore to collect livestock in Fremantle, but before it arrived it unexpectedly turned around and headed towards Indonesia and emerged five days later, 120km from Geraldton.
Border Force has concluded its inquiries and is no longer involved.
The ship is registered in the Marshall Islands.