Back in September, I wrote an article about what to me was an obvious solution repatriate stranded Australians overseas, suggested by my good friend JLL Smith AKA Jordan by using cruise ships with their large capacity rather than the very limited capacity of aircraft, plus quarantine on board!
I copied it to many influencers and many simply ignored it or poo poo’d it.
Well, here we are 5 months later and we still have what I believe is a massive constitutional crisis on our hands with Aussie nationals stranded all over the world not able to get home and all because of the intransigence and inactivity of our very own Federal Government.
So, please read my article below and with this issue reignited by my friend Nicci Foulsham on Facebook and subsequently through the good advice of political and lobbying specialist Simon Westaway, Strategy Director at Royce Comm, and Executive Director at the Australian Tourism Industry Council, I have sent this article to Margaret Bowen Head of Tourism Recovery at Austrade Tourism Recovery Branch. Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Deputy PM and Minister for Transport
I have had an immediate reply from Margaret Bowen, advising me that she likes the lateral thinking, that she will take some soundings in government on this and will come back to me.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments box below.
There are hundreds of cruise ships doing nothing and just a few could resolve this crisis.
My next step will be mainstream TV, radio and other media, so watch this space.
Now, read on! This is the article from September.
Sometimes, we just have to think outside the box and that is what cruise specialist J.L. Smith [AKA Jordan] did today when he messaged me to say that he had the perfect solution to getting thousands of stranded Australians back home.
For a moment I thought he might be going crazy or was suffering from “non-travelling COVID” syndrome as he is an avid traveller but recently as we are aware like the rest of us have been restricted to Australia, but when Jordan told me what his thoughts were, it all began to make sense.
Why? Well, let me tell you.
Jordan’s amazing and absolutely logical plan is to use….wait for it….cruise ships and I know that some of you may think that I have gone as crazy as Jordan, but hang on and read on, it makes perfect sense!
Reportedly, there are over 330 cruise ships laid up all over the world right now, with 33 around the UK alone doing nothing.
With 25,000 Australians reportedly stranded and at say 50% capacity of an average 3,000 guest ship, so say 1.550 guests per ship, that is only just over 16 ships, so let’s call it 20 ships! That is not even all the ships laid up in the UK!
So, how would it work?
These ships or at least the ones that could be brought into service quickly could be deployed to pick up in the various locations where the majority of the stranded Aussies are located or on the way to Australia, with the routes reflecting those locations, with only short flights or road trips required to get to the embarkation ports.
The guests would be tested preboarding along with any other required protocols and tests and placed into immediate quarantine, which would then avoid them having to go into quarantine for two weeks when they get back to Australia, meaning they can go straight into the arms of their loved ones, with the ships dropping guests off in various ports.
The guests could also be tested through the voyage and in addition cruise ships have first-class medical teams and facilities, with the bonus that let’s say a voyage to Australia from Europe with only technical refuelling stops takes around four weeks, while two weeks would be in quarantine, two weeks could be the stunning bonus of a two-week cruise!
The guests could be put in balcony cabins only and until their onboard quarantine is over they would not be allowed into public areas, which is very much what crew joining ships today to keep them going in lay-up or those operating cruises have to do.
The guests could also take pretty well-unlimited luggage with them!
The onboard protocols for when they are out of quarantine on board could be very much like the very strict protocols visionary companies like MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises are already using with what appears to be a significant success.
[Additional GMT comment – and all the guests could be vaccinated on board!]
If perchance there was some sort of outbreak then it is very straightforward to isolate guests and also place the whole ship in quarantine and also if the medical facilities become under too much pressure additional medical support can be provided to the ship.
The best part of all this is that from our rough calculations, it could cost no more and probably a lot less than flights!
In addition, hotel quarantine would not be required in Australia, the risk of any infection being brought into Australia is significantly reduced if not even eradicated, and the process also helps the cruise companies utilise their ships and get their crew working.
So, Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese, while I am sure or hope you have your thinking caps on, Jordan has come up with the perfect solution…so forget planes and think cruise ships!
So, thank you Jordan and let’s see if the Government takes up your idea…because for certain they should!
A report by John Alwyn-Jones