Australia Pacific Touring (APT)’s legal stoush with the federal government has ended, with the company possibly being granted permission to continue to dock a foreign-registered ship in Darwin.
The travel group took on the government to challenge the ban on foreign cruise ships in Australian waters in a bid to stop the government from forcing its Bahamas-flagged cruise ship the Caledonian Sky to leave Darwin.
Last month, federal government Health Minister Greg Hunt ordered foreign-registered cruise ships to leave Australian waters to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Authorities have voiced concerns that if the ban were lifted foreign cruise ships off the Australian coast would flock to dock at Australian ports.
According to NT News, the commonwealth and APT reached an in-principal agreement during a federal court hearing on 15 April.
The settlement reportedly avoids the need for the court to rule on the matter so the government does not have to risk lifting the ban.
“This case seems to be one where there’s certainly some argument to be made for an exception (to the Minister’s determination),” said Justice Angus Stewart according to NT News.
“As a leading member of the International Committee of Nations, Australia should be able to find a just and humanitarian solution for this vessel.”
Stewart adjourned the case until 17 April, where it would be heard if settlement talks fell apart.
APT said it cannot yet confirm if a settlement had gone ahead, as it is a legal matter.
A total of 68 crew members are on board the Caledonian Sky and it is believed none of them have COVID-19 symptoms.
Most foreign cruise ships have already left Australian waters, except for the infamous Ruby Princess, which is docked in Port Kembla.