February 03, 2020
Passengers holding Chinese passports aboard Pacific Explorer were forced to debark the ship in Cairns following Singapore’s decision to ban all travellers holding Chinese passports from entering the country.
It is believed a total of 81 people were transported by buses waiting at Cairns cruise terminal to other accommodation.
The ship departed Sydney last week prior to the ban being introduced. A P&O Australia spokesperson said the decision was a “compassionate disembark” in an effort to better assist the passengers with accommodation and travel arrangements.
“The situation in relation to coronavirus is dynamic with various countries applying individual measures to prevent the spread of illness,” he said.
“Pacific Explorer is due to arrive in Singapore on 11 February. To cause the least inconvenience for these guests, a decision was made for a compassionate disembark in Cairns on Saturday.”
He added this was a “disappointing outcome” since all guests had satisfied P&O’s strict embarkation screening arrangements prior to boarding.
“However, the Singapore measure had been introduced after Pacific Explorer departed Sydney on 28 January giving P&O little choice other than to assist guests affected by the Singapore decision in the most caring and dignified manner possible.”