Canberra – The cruise ship “Artania”, which has been anchored in Corona infections on board in Australia since the end of March, has made its way home. The ship of the German tour operator Phoenix has left the port of the city of Fremantle, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry of the state confirmed Western Australia on request of the German Press Agency.
The ship said goodbye with horn signals, on the deck’s crew members waved to the people in the harbor. “Thank you, Fremantle” was on a banner with a heart. Two of the crew members were even married shortly before they left the quay, as the broadcaster ABC reported. Schoolchildren from Perth also wrote postcards to wish the crew a safe return trip, and according to the tour operator, there are a good 400 people, mostly crew members.
Only eight passengers decided against a flight home and for a return trip by ship. “The captain and we are very happy that we can bring the crew to their families,” said a spokeswoman for the travel company Phoenix. “We are expecting the” Artania “back in Bremerhaven at the end of May.” The ship, known from the ARD documentary series “Crazy for the Sea”, was quarantined two weeks ago. It had been in Fremantle, south of Perth, since the end of March. The reason was that several coronavirus cases had occurred on the ship: More than 840 passengers and crew members were flown to Germany, 23 guests and 13 crew members came to Australian hospitals. A 69-year-old German passenger and two crew members died, and the government of Western Australia was relieved to see the departure. “It was very gratifying to see them leave Fremantle Harbor,” said Western Australia’s Prime Minister Mark McGowan in Perth shortly after leaving the ship in the early afternoon (local time). In the case of another cruise ship, the “Ruby Princess,” Australia wants meanwhile survey more than 5500 former passengers.
Police in the state of New South Wales investigated why nearly 3,000 passengers were allowed to go ashore in Sydney on March 19 without major health checks, despite suspected corona cases.
The ship is currently in Port Kembla, north of Sydney. The Daily Mail reported that it had to leave Australian waters by Sunday. In Australia, there have been around 6550 confirmed coronavirus infections and 70 deaths from the lung disease Covid-19. According to the health authorities, more than a quarter of the infections so far and about 40 percent of deaths are attributable to cruise ships that stopped in Australia.