Ulmarra resident Di Leask talks to Sunrise host David Koch about the ongoing situation for cruise liners awaiting approval to dock in Australia.
Ulmarra resident Di Leask talks to Sunrise host David Koch about the ongoing situation for cruise liners awaiting approval to dock in Australia.

North Coast couple in national spotlight amid cruise chaos

HOPES of arriving home to Ulmarra this weekend have been dashed for John and Di Leask after a government backflip has left them in limbo.

The Leasks join 3,000 other Australians who are stranded across 30 cruise ships all waiting to safely return to home soil as government authorities work through the logistical nightmare.

Earlier this week, The Daily Examiner spoke with the Leasks who have spent almost a month on board the Vasco da Gama, a cruise liner that's virus free.

The ship was expected to dock at Fremantle, WA Friday morning, but changing government restrictions and confusion over where they would spend their 14-day quarantine period has left many passengers anxious and frustrated.

Appearing on the Seven television program Sunrise on Friday morning, Mrs Leask expressed her disappointment in the inconsistency of government guidelines.

STAY UP TO DATE: Follow the latest Clarence Valley coronavirus information here

"On March 18, there was an agreement made with the Western Australian premier's office that we could actually land (at Fremantle) and we'd be bussed by private buses … to the airport," Mrs Leask said.

It's understood passengers were instructed to book their own flights home, a task Mrs Leask said was tricky due to limited internet on board a ship with over 2,000 people. A short time later, the WA government instead requested the ship dock on Monday (March 30).

"It took a lot of trouble to try and organise those flights," she said.

"Then all of a sudden, 24-hours later, you had 600 people scramble to cancel flights when the premier made a backflip."

Sunrise host David Koch pointed out that border restrictions could mean a double dose of quarantine restrictions for many interstate passengers.

"Theoretically, if you arrived in Fremantle, you'd have to go into 14 days quarantine in WA, then somehow get back to NSW and do another 14 days there, so I can understand your confusion," he said.


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