The NT Chief Health officer issued an order on Friday stating passenger cruise ships with over 100 people on board including crew members will not be able to enter Territorial waters due to COVID-concerns.
In what is a seemingly never-ending list of bad news for the cruise industry, the Northern Territory government on Friday issued orders that make cruise stops in Darwin pretty much impossible.
According to the NT News, the ban will bring a hefty $20m blow to Darwin with 5,000 potential tourists now being forced to give the NT capital a miss.
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Hugh Heggie, Chief Health Officer in the NT said in a report “The owner and operator of a cruise vessel must ensure that the vessel: (a) does not enter Port Darwin unless at least 14 days have elapsed since the vessel last berthed in either of the following: (i) an Australian port that is within an area that, at the time the vessel enters Port Darwin, is a COVID-19 hotspot; port outside Australia; and (b) does not enter a port in the Territory, other than Port Darwin, unless the vessel: (a) has first berthed at Port Darwin; and (b) has not left Territory waters since berthing at Port Darwin, and (c) does not enter any port in the Territory while another cruise vessel is berthed at the port.”
The exceptions to the rules? If there are less than 100 people – including passengers and crew – on board. If this is the case, only two ships would be allowed Territorial waters at any one time.
Not surprisingly, cruise operators have voiced their anger and frustration by saying that it’s “unworkable” and not possible to operate profitably with 99 people on board including crew.
At the same time, the industry is also waiting for confirmation on whether or not Western Australia’s Kimberley cruise season will go ahead this year.
Although the Kimberley announcement is still yet to be confirmed, cruise lines Ponant, Silversea, Scenic, APT, Aurora, and Coral Expeditions have released itineraries and are taking bookings for Western Australia expeditions.
People have taken to Facebook to share their opinions, with some saying cruise lines will have to “seriously rethink their itineraries”, with others within the industry helping to assist guests with questions.
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