Covid-19: Cruise ship docks in Darwin, Australia, despite ban

18 March 2020 (Last Updated March 18th, 2020 12:27)

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit cruise ship docked in Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin, Australia, despite the country’s 30-day international cruise ship ban.

Covid-19: Cruise ship docks in Darwin, Australia, despite ban
Silver Spirit cruise ship is operated by luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises. Credit: Mark König.

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Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit cruise ship docked in Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin, Australia, despite the country’s 30-day international cruise ship ban.

The ship was granted entry as it was on its way to the Australian port when the country announced the ban.

On 8 March, the ship started its journey from Langkawi, Malaysia.

The ship docked at the port on 18 March and carried 650 passengers, of which 447 were reported to be Australians.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) said that the ship, along with other ships in the sea, was granted permission to dock to prevent people from being stranded in the sea.

ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said that none of the people on board the ship exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, so the journey period to Australia will count as a part of the 14-day self-isolation period.

He added that passengers will only have to isolate themselves until 22 March.

Outram said: “We had about 14 cruise ships on the water when the announcement of the 30-day ban was made.

“There is no report of any sickness on board any of those cruise ships and we hope that does not change, but the Australians onboard those ships will come ashore.

“They will be allowed to go home, where they will self-isolate, and international passengers will be allowed to go to the airport and get home.

“Passengers catching a domestic flight to another Australian destination will be required to self-isolate in their hotel or home until the end of the quarantine period.”

In a statement, Silversea said: “Following the conclusion of the voyage, guests have disembarked and no new guests will embark, as part of a global suspension of voyages with the health, safety and comfort of our guests as our top priority.”

Another ship that docked at Australia was the Viking Orion, with passengers disembarking from the ship on 17 March at Port of Melbourne.

Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas have also docked at Sydney on 18 March.

Yesterday, New Zealand permitted a luxury cruise ship to dock in Auckland after cruise ships were banned from entry to New Zealand until 30 June.

Last week, several cruise lines announced the suspension of cruise line operations to reduce the spread of Covid-19 on their ships.