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‘We were kept in the dark’: Cruise ship with sick crew refuses to leave Australian waters

The cruise ship Artania is still locked in a week-long stand-off with the Western Australian government and the Australian Border Force.

The Artania has disobeyed a directive by the Border Force to leave, after the majority of passengers were either transferred to a Perth hospital or flown back to Germany earlier in the week.

12 passengers who were either too ill or frail to fly have been removed from the vessel and brought to a Perth hotel under police escort, and there are concerns for at least nine suspected coronavirus cases among the crew.

It’s understood the ship has requested to stay at Fremantle until mid-April.

“It’s clear that some of the [cruise] companies have been lying about the situation,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told Ray Hadley.

He says a military-style operation involving state and territory police and health departments will be deployed to the cruise ships remaining in Australian waters, with eight vessels lurking on the NSW coast alone.

“We were kept in the dark, certainly by a couple of ships,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller tells Ray, echoing Mr Dutton’s comments.

“If I brought nearly 9000 people from cruise ships back into our system Ray, and then winter hits or the virus kicks again, then I’ve let down a lot of people in NSW.”

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Image: Getty