Police seize houseboat in alleged border smuggle
This is Queensland's COVID ship of fools.
A luxury houseboat called Maggie Mae has been seized by authorities and its crew escorted into hotel quarantine and slapped with $4000 fines after allegedly trying to sneak into Queensland by sea.
The 16.4m catamaran had only just been sold and was believed to be cruising from Newcastle to Cairns when it was intercepted by Maritime Safety Queensland officers on Friday in the Gold Coast Broadwater.
The crew, believed to be two couples aged in their 60s and 30s, were detained and taken by police to the QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise for 14-days quarantine.
They were each issued with $4003 fines for allegedly making false border declarations. Their boat was put in mooring until they are released.
The houseboat's owners are believed to be from Cairns and were understood to be sailing it back from Newcastle after buying it last week.
But after Queensland closed its borders to NSW and the ACT last weekend, not even residents of the state can come back in from the declared hot spots except by air. Road and boat travel is banned.
The Maggie Mae had been listed for sale for $375,000 and with the $12,000 in fines and roughly $8000 in hotel quarantine costs, it's been an expensive voyage for the new owners.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was 'great work' by the authorities to intercept the boat.
"They are watching all of our borders," she said.
"It's not just the airports, the train station, the road - they are also monitoring the water as well. Congratulations to them for their quick work."
Ms Palaszczuk said the four crew members were 'now enjoying hotel quarantine at their own expense'.
"We can't have people flouting the laws," she said.
Originally published as Floating the rules: Police seize houseboat in COVID-19 breach