Australian government to lift ban on international cruise ships

Australian government to lift ban on international cruise ships
International cruise ships have been banned from Australian ports since March 2020

The Australian government is to lift its ban on international cruise ships arriving and departing from Australian ports on 17 April 2022.   

International cruise ships have been prohibited from visiting Australia since March 2020 when the government prevented them from calling at the country’s ports under the Biosecurity Act 2015 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On the basis of medical advice and with the agreement of National Cabinet, lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia’s international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Greg Hunt, Australia’s minister for health and aged care.  

Additional measures have now been set out by the government to minimise risk of an outbreak of Covid-19 with the return of cruising. These measures include enhanced pre-arrival reporting and identification of Covid-19 risk, amendments to the Biosecurity (Negative pratique) Instrument 2016 to ensure cruise vessels always arrive with permission to unload passengers and cargo, and stress testing of the emergency response system for cruises. The government will also engage with the industry for safety guidance and mandate that all passengers must have received two doses of a recognised Covid-19 vaccine. 

“This is great news for the cruise industry, tourism, the broader economy and the Australians who love to take a cruise holiday,” said Dan Tehan, minister for trade, tourism and investment. “The resumption of cruising is another key step forward in the tourism sector’s recovery from Covid-19. We look forward to welcoming cruise ships and passengers back to Australian waters.” 

Cruise ships will also need to meet all state and territory public health requirements of the destination in which they berth. Individual states and territories will provide advice on their readiness to receive ships. 

“This is a major breakthrough for our industry after two years of suspension and it provides hope for the thousands of Australians who depend on cruising for their livelihoods,” said Joel Katz, managing director of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia and Asia. “Though we welcome today’s announcement, there is still work to be done. With the federal ban lifted, we still need state and territory governments to finalise the extensive health protocols that will support a careful return to operations.”

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
15 March 2022

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