CruiseCruise ships told to leave Australian waters

Ships all at sea over Covid-19 bans

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Vasco da Gama’s passengers face 14 days in quarantine
Vasco da Gama’s passengers face 14 days in quarantine Photo Credit: CMV

FREMANTLE, Western Australia - Cruise ships moored off the coast of Western Australia are involved in a stand-off with government officials after two were denied  entry to the port of Fremantle and told to leave Australian waters.

The MSC Magnifica had previously berthed in Fremantle but its passengers were not allowed off the ship during refueling and stocking operations.

MSC Magnifica departed Fremantle for Dubai on Tuesday but turned back after UAE authorities said it would not be allowed to dock.

MCS says none of the passengers onboard has shown symptoms of coronavirus but the West Australian government says the ship should leave Australian waters immediately.

A second ship, the German-owned Artania is also parked off the coast with seven of its 800 mainly European passengers and 500 crew testing positive for Covid-19.

Carnival’s Seabourn Encore arrived in Fremantle Port on Sunday and since departing has been sitting off outside the facility’s limits sailing ‘Love Heart’ patterns.

Silversea’s Silver Whisper berthed in Fremantle Port Thursday March 26  for a turnaround during a Sydney-Singapore cruise.

Seabourn Encore shows there’s still love in times of stress. Photo Credit: Marine Tracker.
Seabourn Encore shows there’s still love in times of stress. Photo Credit: Marine Tracker.

CMV’s Vasco da Gama had been due to berth in Fremantle on Friday but this timing has been pushed back to Monday while state government authorities make arrangements to transfer many passengers to a nearby tourist island which has been cleared to act as a quarantine camp where passengers will self-isolate for 14 days.

Discussions are taking place in the hope of flying home more than 100 New Zealanders on board the ship.

Dean Brazier, managing director, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) Australia, said CMV was disappointed by the decision to keep passengers on board the ship or send them for quarantine when it berthed in Fremantle.

“We have recorded no health issues with any guests or crew members on board Vasco da Gama. By Monday, our guests will have been at sea for 16 days straight without disembarking the ship or being in contact with anyone who was not a guest or crew member of CMV, which places them outside the 14-day period that the World Health Organisation indicates is the incubation period for COVID-19.”

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