Australia and New Zealand Ban Cruise Ship Arrivals

Credit: TasPorts
Credit: TasPorts

Published Mar 15, 2020 7:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

Australia will ban cruise ships from foreign ports for an initial period of 30 days.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement over the weekend. The nation now has around 250 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including the nation's Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, and Morrison has also imposed a 14-day self isolation period on all international travellers from midnight on Sunday.

Cruise ships are already being affected, with passengers onboard the MSC Magnifica not allowed to disembark in Hobart, Tasmania, on Saturday.

Tasmania's Premier Peter Gutwein has now directed TasPorts to suspend all cruise ship visits until June 30. Gutwein said, "We could have 2,500 people disembark into Hobart and decide that they don't want to get back on a cruise ship. That would put significant strain on our own local resources both in terms of housing and our hospitals."

TasPorts Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Donald, said TasPorts is working closely with impacted cruise lines and industry stakeholders to facilitate and enable safe diversions to other ports. Tasmania’s 2019-2020 peak cruise season was expected to finish in early April.

In New Zealand, a passenger on the Golden Princess is being tested for the coronavirus, and three others have been put into quarantine after either showing some symptoms or having been in contact with a confirmed case. The vessel arrived in Akaroa on Sunday, but passengers are not being allowed to disembark.

New Zealand has announced that travellers will have to self-isolate on their arrival to New Zealand, except for those coming from the Pacific Islands. Cruise ships won't be permitted to visit the nation until at least June 30. New Zealand currently has less than 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus.