A deal has been struck between Australia and Germany to evacuate 800 European passenger who are onboard Phoenix Reisen’s Artania.
There are seven passengers on the German ship, Artania who have tested positive for COVID-19. While the ship has no Australians onboard, there are 800 guests and 500 crew members.
The Artania requested urgent medical assistance from West Australian authorities earlier this week and the ship’s operators have told passengers that they will be sent home on chartered flights to Frankfurt in Germany, leaving this weekend.
WA will provide hospital care for passengers with life threatening medical conditions and a man was transferred from the Artania on Thursday night with what is understood to be a heart problem.
The developments come overnight, despite Premier Mark McGowan calling on Australian Navy to get the ship out of Australian waters.
He also requested yesterday, the Commonwealth help and said if any passengers required medical attention on shore, and that they should be taken to a place away from the public.
“We’d like the Commonwealth to assist with that, we’d like those passengers…if they have to, to go into a Commonwealth facility,” Mr McGowan said.
“The Commonwealth has assets here, it has defence assets, it has the navy, we’d like their assistance to try to get the Artania to leave as soon as possible,” he said.
“There’s no Australians on board, it needs to be fuelled, but it needs to leave and go to its home port.
“Its home port is actually Germany, so what we’re saying to the ship is ‘you need to leave’, and we’re saying to the Commonwealth ‘you need to help us get that ship to leave’.
Most of the passengers on the ship are German, but Australian and Swiss passport holders will also travel to Frankfurt.
But Premier McGowan is demanding that the MSC Magnifica, which is now in limbo off the coast after being denied entry by Dubai, leave WA waters.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also barred cruise passengers from NSW until tougher protocols are established.
Ms Berejikilian has pushed for tougher cruise ship testing after state and federal government let over 2,000 passengers off the Ruby Princess, despite a number of passengers feeling unwell.
Australian Border Force chief Michael Outram earlier this week, said the bungled decision was squarely the responsibility of NSW health and the federal agriculture department.
One passenger, a 77-year-old woman has died.
“The protocols I want far exceed what the existing protocols are and that’s what we’re negotiating with the federal government,” said Ms Berejiklian.
“I don’t want anyone coming off a ship, and I know that’s hard for some families, until the state and federal government agree on what we’re doing moving forward.”
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