Five cruise ships docked in Sydney harbour will be sent out to sea as the NSW government deals with the ugly fallout of the Ruby Princess affair.
NSW Police on Saturday helped reprovision two ships, the Spectrum of the Seas and the Radiance of the Seas, before they departed for their home ports.
The ships were allowed to dock in Sydney Harbour during the past 24 hours, with 600 foreign national crew members moved between the two before fuel, food and medical supplies were loaded on board.
NSW Police said that they both departed on Saturday afternoon as part of "Operation Nemesis".
A third ship, the Celebrity Solstice, entered the harbour on Saturday afternoon with another two - Voyager of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas - to follow.
Another 780 crew will be moved between the boats before all three depart.
"NSW Police has been instrumental in facilitating the movement of more than 750,000 tonnes of shipping through the Port of Sydney over about a 30-hour period," Superintendent Steve Hegarty said.
"It will be the largest peace time maritime operation undertaken in Sydney Harbour and has relied on the cooperation of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the Port Authority of NSW to ensure its success."
The NSW government is under increasing scrutiny after it allowed 2647 passengers to disembark the Ruby Princess last month despite several people on board showing signs of having influenza.
Leaked emails showed that NSW Health gave the all-clear for the ship to disembark despite the fact the results of test swabs would have been available later that day.
A total of 622 Ruby Princess passengers - including 342 residing in NSW - have tested positive for coronavirus.
Australian Associated Press