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Australia Navy could force COVID-19 cruise out of WA waters

05:16  26 march  2020
05:16  26 march  2020 Source:   9news.com.au

More than 100 Australians - including dozens of doctors and dentists - are trapped on a cruise ship off the coast of Chile due to coronavirus docking ban

  More than 100 Australians - including dozens of doctors and dentists - are trapped on a cruise ship off the coast of Chile due to coronavirus docking ban The medical experts were on the Roald Amundsen, owned by Hurtigruten, for a 10-night cruise to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and the Chilean Fjords as part of a medical and dental conference. The ship left port in Chile on February 29 and was scheduled to return on Tuesday. But the passengers are now stranded on the ship as a result of the country's strict new rules banning cruise ships from docking.On Sunday Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich announced cruise ships are banned from docking until September after an elderly passenger tested positive for coronavirus.

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a large ship in the water: Passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Artania cruise ship off WA coast. © Cruisemapper Passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Artania cruise ship off WA coast. The Western Australian government wants the Royal Australian Navy to move a cruise ship carrying at least seven COVID-19 passengers out of Australian waters.

No Australians are among the 800 passengers and 500 crew onboard the Artania, currently moored off the Fremantle coast.

The Artania is just one of several cruise ships in WA waters causing headaches for Premier Mark McGowan.

Mr McGowan is demanding the Artania refuel and move on to its home port in Germany, via South Africa.

"The Commonwealth has assets here, it has defence assets, it has the navy. We'd like their assistance to try to get the Artania to leave as soon as possible," Mr McGowan has said.

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  Cruise ship docks in Melbourne despite ban A cruise ship has been denied permission to disembark in Melbourne as health officials board to test a number of passengers with flu-like symptoms. The vessel docked at Station Pier at 5am but no-one is allowed off until test results come back. © 9News A cruise ship has docked in Melbourne despite a 30-day ban in Australia. Passengers are allowed to move around the ship.9News has been told it will be some time after 9am before they can leave the ship.The docking comes despite the Federal Government's 30-day ban on cruise ship arrivals.More to come.

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"There's no Australians on board, it needs to be fuelled, but it needs to leave and go to its home port."

Artania. © Getty Artania. WA Health officials have said only passengers suffering life-threatening sickness will be let off the ship. Teams have been on the ship testing and assessing people.

"I am 100 per cent clear on this," Mr McGowan told reporters today.

"No-one will be disembarking at Fremantle unless a passenger is in a life-threatening emergency."

"I am not going to repeat the mistakes made in other jurisdictions," he said, referencing the Ruby Princess debacle in NSW.

Mr McGowan said if the seven sick passengers had to come onshore for medical treatment, they would be kept in a Commonwealth facility, possibly a defence base.

Thousands of cruise ship passengers told to self-isolate due to coronavirus days after disembarking

  Thousands of cruise ship passengers told to self-isolate due to coronavirus days after disembarking Cruise ship passengers disembark in Sydney and spend four days in the community before receiving NSW government advice to self-isolate due to a positive coronavirus detection. Now federal and state government ministers are blaming each other for how cruise arrivals have been handled.With the rate of coronavirus in Australia growing exponentially each day, there has been heavy scrutiny over the decision to allow passengers from at least four vessels to disembark in Sydney over the past week.

The Australian Border Force has hit back at criticism for the disembarkation of passengers from the In our waters with one and what hands of course, with those crews they they would all and get off in I'm highly confident cruise ship left out there if anybody confident we won't get a repeat of this day

On Tuesday, Western Australian police and Australian Border Force officers met the cruise ship Magnifica Cruise ships have been an obvious potential source of infected coronavirus arrivals since the Diamond COVID - 19 cases linked to the Ruby Princess have emerged as far away as Tasmania

"The Artania cruise ship must continue on its journey to South Africa urgently," Mr McGowan declared.

"This ship needs to leave immediately. I want the Commonwealth to make that happen."

a boat is docked next to a body of water: Popular holiday destination Rottnest Island has become Western Australia's designated quarantine zone in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. © Provided by 9News.com.au Popular holiday destination Rottnest Island has become Western Australia's designated quarantine zone in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said there were three cruise ships and two other vessels off the coast of Fremantle.

"We are dealing with a dynamic unfolding situation," he said.

"None of them, except for those that have no passengers and are refuelling, will enter the port, unless and until we are satisfied that it is safe for them to [dock]."

Pictures: Coronavirus around the world

Commissioner Dawson said he had been in discussions with the chief of the Defence Force, who had "put in place planning and logistics" to assist the Western Australian government manage the cruise ship situation.

The Vasco da Gama, one of the three cruises, is a different proposition.

That cruise ship is carrying 800 Australians and 700 foreign nationals, and was due to arrive in Fremantle tomorrow morning.

But the WA government has now requested the ship now docks on Monday. No Australian passengers have reported any respiratory symptoms.

All West Australians on the ship will self-isolate for 14 days at Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, where they will be held for a 2-week quarantine period.

"Interstate passengers will have an option," Mr McGowan explained.

a large ship in a body of water: A 68-year-old man on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has become the ninth Australian to die from the coronavirus. © Provided by Today A 68-year-old man on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has become the ninth Australian to die from the coronavirus. If agreed by their home State they can fly home directly or remain on the ship, self-isolating, until travel arrangements are made.

"Rottnest Island will be used as a last resort for them," Mr McGowan said.

The remaining foreign passengers, including 109 New Zealanders, will not be allowed to leave the cruise ship until arrangements are in place for them to fly straight home.

"I know this all sounds pretty extreme but it's the right thing to do because our first priority is the health and well-being of West Australians."

A third ship, the Magnifica, had departed Fremantle for Dubai but the UAE has now denied the vessel permission to dock.

The Magnifica is now sitting in a holding pattern off Australia's western coast.

WA Health officials understand that no Magnifica passengers are ill.

"We are doing what we can to assist that cruise ship to be able to get on its way to Europe or to another port," Mr McGowan said

Earlier today NSW ordered an immediate ban on all cruise ships docking in NSW.

More than 2700 passengers walked off the Ruby Princess into Sydney one week ago, and have been responsible for a large spike in the state's reported cases.

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More info: Read the latest advice on COVID-19 from the Australian Government

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The Home Affairs portfolio has been dysfunctional for years, and never held to account. Why should we expect any different now that it is charged with protecting us from the coronavirus?Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

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