After acting on Labor’s call to test all crew members of the Ruby Princess for COVID-19, the Morrison Government must now urgently assist the crew to safely return to their home countries.
Only crew members who return negative test results and volunteer to remain on the vessel for the ship’s journey to its next port should remain on the vessel. The Government must not force this vessel to leave Australian waters with crew members on board who have tested positive to COVID-19.
The Government must work with the cruise company and the International Transport Workers Federation who represent the crew to repatriate the remaining crew members as quickly and safely as possible while the costs associated with the repatriation should be covered by the cruise company.
Each day that passes without the Morrison Government helping this stranded crew to get home safely, risks more people on board contracting COVID-19, and placing unnecessary additional stress on the New South Wales health system.
More than one hundred crew members on the Ruby Princess have contracted COVID-19 with a number already being airlifted to Sydney hospitals.
The risk to seafarers is gravely serious. Sadly, a 40-year-old crew member of the cruise ship Artania in Western Australia has already passed away from COVID-19.
Only the Federal Government has the capacity to deliver the required national response as it controls our borders, our biosecurity responsibilities, and our management of diplomatic relationships.
With Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Senator Kristina Keneally and Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Senator Carol Brown.