Cruise ships return after two-year ban

Australian authorities are lifting a ban on cruise liners that’s been in place since March 2020.

NSW, Victoria and Queensland have outlined testing and vaccination requirements for passengers and crew in preparation for the ships to return.

However, Tasmania is still reviewing whether such a move is safe for the island state.

Peak body Cruise Lines International Association Australia says the lifting of the ban will be marked by “a carefully managed resumption of operations” in a sector that previously supported more than 18,000 jobs.

The first international ship scheduled to arrive, P&O Australia’s Pacific Explorer, will sail into Sydney Harbour on Monday morning in readiness for its return to service on May 31.

It will be followed at the end of the month by Ponant’s Le Laperouse, which will begin operations between Darwin and Broome on April 28, joining local operators in time for the important Kimberley season.

“More than a million Australians took an ocean cruise every year before the pandemic and we now have an opportunity to return to sailing and revive an industry that was worth more than $5 billion annually to the Australian economy,” Cruise Lines Australasian managing director Joel Katz said.

“While no setting is immune from COVID-19, the cruise industry’s new protocols provide among the highest possible levels of prevention, detection and mitigation.”

The move comes despite COVID-19 infections remaining stubbornly high.

 

 

(Australian Associated Press)

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