The President of Australia’s largest cruise organisation, Carnival Australia, Sture Myrmell has strongly defended the country’s cruise industry, as the Australian government grapples with eight cruise ships anchored at Australian ports, unable to disembark for fear of bringing any infected passengers to shore.
The company’s Ruby Princess vessel in particular was said to have reported over 400 Covid-19 cases when passengers disembarked the ship in Sydney on 19 March. However, in his video statement, Myrmell defends the health and medical procedures undertaken onboard the ship.
Carnival Australia’s vessels have been ordered out of the Australian ports, “a place they have called home for years – these ships have now been declared unwelcome,” said Myrmell.
“It is distressing to see one of our ships, Ruby Princess attract so much criticism in spite of some undeniable facts.
HELPING THE GOVERNMENT RETURNING AUSTRALIANS HOME
“Every single passenger on the affected cruise and every joining crew member embarked the ship in Sydney. The overwhelming majority, in fact two-thirds who embarked on that ship were Australians. The ship followed to the letter all of the formal health clearance processes that were active at that time. Meaning that all travellers arrive from an overseas port were treated in exactly the same way whether they ride by air or sea.”
He added that ‘it simply wasn’t safe for Ruby Princess to sail away from Australia and away from healthcare services that might become urgently needed’.
Myrmell said it was of course also distressing to know that Covid-19 has impacted their customers in such a devastating way. “They are very much in our thoughts,” he said.
Carnival Australia is assisting the government in returning Australians overseas to their homes.
Myrmell also supports calls from the industry association – CLIA Australasia – for cruise operators to be able to repatriate crew from now out of service cruise ships in a safe, orderly and compassionate way.
MORE THAN AD$5BN CONTRIBUTION TO THE NATIONAL ECONOMY
“It is difficult for people and businesses who derive their livelihood and jobs from cruising to see it demonised in the way it has been and for its contribution to be discounted and devalued.
“Suggestions that cruising makes no contribution to Australia’s economy and wellbeing are as hurtful as they are wrong. We are part of an industry that contributes more than AD$5bn to the national economy and supports nearly 20,000 jobs and buys huge quantities of produce from local suppliers, and there are thousands of travel agents who have made cruising part of their business as well.”
There are more than 300 people working in Carnival’s Sydney office and thousands of crew onboard its ships.
“These are loyal hard-working people and it has been bewildering for them to see governments and even the police turn on this industry with little consideration for them or their future,” added Myrmell.