Home / World News / Coronavirus disaster: WA Premier Mark McGowan’s solution for COVID-19 cruise passengers off Fremantle

Coronavirus disaster: WA Premier Mark McGowan’s solution for COVID-19 cruise passengers off Fremantle

Charter planes should be organised to fly COVID-19 positive cruise ship passengers back to their home country after treatment at isolated locations says Mark McGowan.

Seven passengers have tested positive to the virus on the Artania which is anchored off Fremantle and has 800 tourists on board, mostly Germans.

The Premier said the current cruise ship crisis was a Federal Government issue and made it clear no one would be let off the boat or another liner, MSC Magnifica, except for a medical emergency.

“I have been in contact with the Federal Government to make clear our position,” he said.

“This ship and its passengers are a Commonwealth responsibility.”

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Mr McGowan said it would be up to the Australian and German Governments to organise plane to take passengers who came off the Artania back home.

“The Artania cruise ship must continue on its journey to South Africa urgently,” he said.

“This ship needs to leave immediately.”

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the infected passengers were not in a situation where they needed to come off the ship.

“The first priority is to ensure those patients or passengers are in good care, the advice we received this morning is no passengers need to be disembarked for medical care,” he said.

“The chief health officer of this state … said they can be treated on board.”

Mr McGowan said he thought Garden Island would be a suitable place to put sick passengers from the Artania who needed to go to shore for treatment.

He said passengers on board the Artania should not be milling about and not observing social distancing guidelines.

Commissioner Dawson said the Magnifica had requested more fuel at the Fremantle Port.

Mr McGowan said in regards to the Magnifica work was being done to help get it to Europe or another port.

The Premier said the 200 Western Australians travelling to Fremantle on a third ship the Vasco da Gama, carrying 800 passengers total including more than 100 New Zealanders, would go into self-isolation on Rottnest Island.

“Interstate passengers will have an option, if agreed by a home state to fly home directly, or remain a ship self-isolating until travel arrangements are made,” he said.

“Rottnest would be used as a last resort for them.”

Work is still being done on the logistics of moving passengers off the ship when it berths.

The ship had been due to come into port on Friday morning but won’t be allowed to dock until Monday.

Commissioner Dawson said the State was working with New Zealand for a direct flight out of Perth for its nationals on board the Vasco da Gama.

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