A group of Sydneysiders on board a luxury yacht put thousands of Queenslanders at risk after they lied on their border passes and headed to the rugby.
The group of four, who were discovered at Southport last week, were on board the Dreamtime, a 34-foot yacht worth about $4 million which costs $15,000 to rent for just 24 hours.
Maritime Safety Queensland have said as a result of the breach they will begin to crack down on their border patrols.
MSQ general manager Angus Mitchell said the group had provided “false and misleading information” upon arrival and had been stung with on-the-spot fines of more than $4000 each.
“Thankfully they all tested negative to Covid-19 which is a great relief, considering they had attended the Wallabies versus France rugby international in Brisbane last week,” he said.
“As of July 1, 2021, anyone who provides false or misleading information or breaches the directions can expect an on-the-spot fine of more than $4000, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,785 or six months imprisonment.”
Mr Mitchell said two other sailing vessels which had arrived on the Gold Coast from Sydney had been identified last week.
A 68-year-old skipper was placed into hotel quarantine and fined $4003 for “failing to comply with a Covid-19 border direction”, Mr Mitchell said.
A separate skipper was also fined $4003 but was turned around at the border.
“The message is clear, if you have been in a Covid-19 hotspot and you cross our maritime border, you will be intercepted and face the consequences,” Mr Mitchell said.
“The chief health officer declared the Greater Sydney area a Covid-19 hotspot backdated to 21 June as the Covid-19 situation continued to escalate.
“While that situation exists, MSQ will rigorously challenge any vessels planning to enter Queensland waters.”
The revelation comes after NSW recorded 112 cases of Covid-19 on Monday, prompting Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to warn Sunshine State residents still in regional parts of the southern state to come home.
While the Queensland/ NSW border remains open, with the exception of hotspot-declared Sydney, Ms Palaszczuk warned things could change at a moment’s notice.
“At the moment, because Greater Sydney is in lockdown, we are very comfortable with keeping Greater Sydney as a hot spot,” she said.
“However, my message to Queenslanders is if you are in those areas, come home. I can’t be any clearer.
“Please, even if you are in regional parts of NSW, we are monitoring that very closely and things can change. My message to Queenslanders is to think seriously, long and hard, about what you are doing and if you can, come home.”
Queensland will wind back its restrictions on Friday, two weeks after the state was plunged into a snap four-day lockdown.
Originally published as Men fined $16k for fleeing Sydney on yacht