30 May 2009

Cruise ship passengers cleared to leave

6:05 pm on 30 May 2009

Passengers aboard the P&O cruise ship have disembarked in Brisbane after being screened for swine flu.

Of the ship's 2,000 passengers, only 83 were allowed to leave the ship after it berthed in Hamilton, but they will have to spend seven days in home quarantine.

Not everyone took up the offer and 29 Queenslanders will continue the cruise to Sydney.

Those who did leave had to undergo lengthy health checks by a team of nurses and medical staff.

The Pacific Dawn cut short its trip to the Great Barrier Reef after three crew members tested positive for swine flu. They have since recovered after treatment.

Carnival Cruises chief executive Ann Sherry, who owns P&O, met every passenger coming off the ship and handed them a cheque for 75% of the cost of their cruise.

Public health emergency declared

The Queensland state government declared a public health emergency after the cruise ship was refused permission to berth in Brisbane.

Management of the Portside Wharf passenger terminal refused to allow the Pacific Dawn to dock.

The office of Deputy Premier and Health Minister Paul Lucas signed a Public Health Emergency Order at about 9.30am (AEST) on Saturday after Dockside management said the vessel could not dock.

Quarantine powers were earlier invoked to stop interstate passengers disembarking when the ship berthed.