The Captain of coronavirus-infected superyacht that sparked panic and fury in Queensland has broken his silence after questions were raised over whether they even had permission to dock.

The ‘Lady E’ yacht charter allegedly arrived in Cairns from the Maldives on Monday with 14 guests and six crew members on board. 

It costs AU$785,000 a week to hire the luxury liner, which includes seven rooms, a pool, a sauna and spa, a bar, a gym and an on-board masseuse and yoga teacher. 

A female crew member, in her 20s, tested positive to coronavirus and has now been placed in mandatory quarantine – as have all the other crew and guests. 

Queensland Police began investigating whether the ship had permission to dock prior to the positive test. 

The Captain of the opulent charte, James Kennedy, spoke out on Thursday claiming the team are fully cooperating with health authorities, despite contrary reports.

He also said blood tests were being carried out to determine if the Covid test results were ‘false positives’. 

 The ‘Lady E’ yacht charter (pictured) allegedly arrived in Cairns from the Maldives on Monday with 14 guests and six crew members on board. A female crew member, in her 20s, tested positive to coronavirus and has now been placed in mandatory quarantine – as have all the other crew and guests

Health authorities on Thursday said the crew has been less than forthcoming about their movements prior to their arrival. 

‘The Queensland Police Service has commenced an investigation into a group of people who arrived in Queensland onboard a vessel,’ a police spokesman said.  

‘Fourteen people have been directed into 14-days hotel quarantine in Cairns and are undergoing mandatory COVID-19 testing.

‘Six crew members remain on board the vessel for marine safety and have been directed to self-isolate.’  

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ the crew had not been cooperative with police. 

‘We will leave that for the police to deal with, but we are very disappointed they are not co-operating and providing factual and correct information to the Queensland Police,’ she told reporters on Thursday. 

But the Captain Kennedy claimed the crew were working closely with Queensland authorities.

‘We are fully cooperating with the authorities and have followed all protocols before docking in Cairns and since arrival,’ Mr Kennedy said in a statement.

A promotional image of the Lady E superyacht, which costs AU$785,000 per week to hire

‘Our team have quarantined, undertaken all necessary Covid-19 tests and stand ready to provide whatever details the authorities deem necessary. We remain ready to comply in full.’ 

Prior to departing the Maldives all crew were tested for Covid-19 and received negative tests on December 5, according the statement.

After casting off, the Lady E did not make any other stops after leaving the Maldives on route to Australia. 

Blood tests are now being carried out to determine if the two crew members may have revived ‘false positives’.   

The two crew members had previously tested positive for Covid-19 before returning negative tests in the Maldives, the statement said.

‘A subsequent blood test has been undertaken to determine whether these are the result of a ‘false-positive’ resulting from an old recovered case.’

The outdoor dining area of the Lady E. It also includes seven rooms, a pool, a sauna and spa, a bar, a gym and an on-board masseuse and yoga teacher

Meanwhile Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said the Covid case proved there were still risks in accepted international travellers.

‘It is a lesson to us all that no matter how long they have been at sea (there’s) a risk,’ she said.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches cluster has also spread to the Sunshine State, despite the Premier swiftly closing down the borders. 

A local man in his 40s travelled within the Northern Beaches before returning to Queensland and entering home quarantine.

On December 18 when the man returned home, he sought a Covid test which returned a negative result.

But while completing his mandatory home quarantine, he developed symptoms and sought a second test, which returned a positive reading. 

Dr Young commended the man for following strict self isolation protocols even after he initially tested negative, and said his actions could have potentially saved a catastrophic outbreak of Covid in Queensland.

But she is still concerned that the deadly respiratory virus has crept across the border.

‘I am concerned that we do have the virus in Queensland,’ she admitted.

‘We know there were a lot of people who have come back into Queensland from the Northern Beaches area and other parts of Sydney.’

Incoming passengers are screened by police as they arrive at the domestic terminal in Brisbane airport on Sunday

Dr Young commended the man for following strict self isolation protocols even after he initially tested negative, and said his actions could have potentially saved a catastrophic outbreak of Covid in Queensland

Sydney’s Northern Beaches cluster has also spread to the Sunshine State, despite the Premier swiftly closing down the borders

Police to investigate ‘Lady E’ superyacht’s arrival into Cairns  

Police will investigate the route and details of the ‘Lady E’ superyacht which docked in Cairns on Monday December 21.

A young woman in her 20s tested positive to Covid on Thursday while in mandatory hotel quarantine after arriving in Queensland via the vessel earlier this week.

She was among 20 people – 14 guests and six crew – who entered Queensland waters from the Maldives on board.

But health authorities on Thursday said crews have been less than forthcoming about their movements prior to their arrival.

The government understands the ship travelled from the Maldives, but is unable to trace any other potential stops it made along the way before arriving in Cairns.

This will form part of the investigation into how Covid came to be on the ship after so long at sea.

All 14 guests were directed into hotel quarantine on arrival, while six crew members were granted exemptions to remain on board the ship for marine safety and to maintain it. 

They will now be tested for Covid. 

Hotel quarantine is a far cry from the luxury the guests have grown accustomed to on the superyacht, which boasts a marine basketball court, heated pool, sauna and spa room, on-board masseuse and yoga teacher.

Hiring the Lady E costs an estimated $USD595,000 per week. 

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the crew have not been cooperative with police, which she described as ‘extremely disappointing’. 

‘We will leave that for the police to deal with, but we are very disappointed they are not co-operating and providing factual and correct information to the Queensland Police,’ she told reporters on Thursday.     

‘It is a lesson to us all that no matter how long they have been at sea (there’s) a risk,’ Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said. 

As of Thursday, 53 Queenslanders have been contacted by the New South Wales health department to warn them that they have been a close contact of a positive Covid case.

Queensland health authorities are concerned some of those people may have contracted the virus have brought it back to the Sunshine State.

But Ms D’Ath said she hopes any returned travellers ‘did the right thing’ and isolated at home to avoid potentially spreading the disease. 

As Sydney’s COVID cluster grew, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk slammed the borders shut to Sydneysiders from 1am on Monday.

Locals had an extra 24 hours to return home under the condition that they enter home quarantine when they arrived.

But anybody who arrived after 1am on Tuesday was again ordered to enter two week hotel quarantine at their own cost.

Queensland has not recorded a case of community transmission in 100 days, and Ms Palaszczuk explained that she was not willing to jeopardise Queenslanders’ way of life by keeping the borders open to states with active clusters.  

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the changes after New South Wales recorded just 30 new cases of coronavirus. The Northern Beaches cluster now exceeds 100 cases

As Sydney’s Covid cluster grew, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk slammed the borders shut to Sydneysiders from 1am on Monday

During a fiery press conference on Wednesday, Ms Palaszczuk said the nation needed to be ‘absolutely strict’ when it comes to handling returning Australians.

She added it was ‘a bit rich’ for New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian to slam other states and territories for implementing border closures ahead of the Christmas/New Year period. 

Ms Berejiklian this week said other leaders had lost their nerve, sacrificed their economies and ruined Christmas for millions by shutting the borders so early.

She lashed other state premiers for rushing to slam borders shut, while pointing out NSW continued to allow interstate travellers despite much higher case numbers in Victoria in July.

‘I’m saying to colleagues around the country please think about the heartbreak and please think about the facts when you’re making these decisions. Because it impacts so many people,’ Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.

Ms Palaszczuk said: ‘It is not just Queensland that took the tough measure of shutting the border with NSW’.

‘The heath advice of nearly every other health officer across the country was advising their respective leaders exactly the same thing independently,’ she said.

‘If there hadn’t been the cluster outbreak in the Northern Beaches, no one would have had to take these measures and everybody would’ve been seeing their family and friends over this Christmas/New Year period.

‘But it’s a bit rich for NSW to start blaming Queensland and Victoria and whichever other state and territory she wants to blame.’

New South Wales records just NINE new local cases – including seven linked to the Northern Beaches cluster – as worrying outbreak emerges in Sydney’s CBD 

New South Wales has confirmed just nine new coronavirus cases as a record 60,000 residents in the state were tested for COVID-19 overnight.

Seven of the cases are linked to the Avalon cluster where the Northern Beaches outbreak was first detected last week.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she ‘nearly fell off my chair, literally’ when she learned there had been so many tests. 

Of the new confirmed cases, she said two remain under investigation – including one who lives in the Northern Beaches area.

Health officials have meanwhile issued an urgent alert for punters who attended the Paragon Hotel near Circular Quay in the Sydney CBD on December 16 after the venue was visited by a positive COVID-19 case. 

Those who attended the pub between 12.45pm to 3.30pm on that date have been told to get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant also singled out the popular Bondi Icebergs restaurant in Sydney’s eastern suburbs after diners there were exposed to a coronavirus-positive case.

 Sydney’s latest outbreak is centred on Avalon in the Northern Beaches but has spread beyond the area with transmission at a workplace in the CBD and a pub in Erskinville as hundreds of venues are listed as having been visited by positive cases.

About 270,000 Northern Beaches residents were ordered to stay home for five days from Saturday as the government rushed to contain the cluster caused by a US strain of Covid-19 which somehow escaped from hotel quarantine. 



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