M/Y Lady Pamela Voyage under Investigation

3 September 2020 By Staff Report

Owner of 30-meter M/Y Lady Pamela Mark Simonds, along with his family, have been ordered to quarantine for two weeks after the Queensland government revoked a travel exemption for the vessel. She sailed out of Melbourne on August 9 and stopped at least five times as she sailed up the east coast, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

An exemption was granted by Maritime Safety Queensland on August 23 for the vessel to enter the state, reportedly for maintenance work, to sail directly from Victoria to Queensland without any stops. The only people meant to be on board were those necessary to bring the yacht safely up to Queensland, Brisbane Times reports.

However, the exemption was revoked on August 25 after Queensland Health received new information. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the guests and several crewmembers were removed from the vessel by Queensland Police members on the evening of August 25. Police had received evidence that the guests and crew disembarked on August 21 in Yamba, New South Wales, Australia, which is “understood to have breached the conditions of their exemption.”

Maritime Services and public health authorities boarded the vessel, checked the log, and tested those aboard for COVID-19. With conflicting information of whether all those on board were crew and where they had been, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young removed the exemption and required the quarantine until it could be sorted, Brisbane Times reports.

As of August 28, Brisbane Times reported that a criminal investigation is under way into the 15-day journey that was taken. The number of agencies involved, including Maritime Safety Queensland and NSW police force, have complicated the investigation.

Lady Pamela left one week after Melbourne entered stage four lockdown under an exception allowing people to move to a new home or leave Victoria to reside in another state. The NSW/Victoria border closed on July 7, while Queensland’s border closed to Victorians on July 9.

Ten other yachts had been granted exemptions to enter Queensland with only crew on board. ABC News Australia reports that exemptions have been given to those who have been on a sea vessel for 14 days and not visited a hotspot area during that time, but if they had, they are required to quarantine for 14 days.