All clear for ‘essential’ ferry


POLICE checked and cleared all passengers for travel on the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry after stage three coronavirus restrictions came into force on Thursday 9 July.

The ferry is classed as an essential service, linking the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas.

Although the Mornington Peninsula is subject to the restrictions Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula are not within the Melbourne metropolitan area.

“During the next six weeks we expect that the only travellers on our service will be people that have a need to travel for one of the three permitted reasons,” Searoad Ferries’ operations general manager Wes Oswin said.

“The travellers will predominantly be trades and business people, government employees as well as emergency service personnel.

“We also have a number of people, including medical professionals that live on one peninsula and need to travel as a result of their work.”

Police cleared all passengers on Thursday’s 1pm service after they arrived at Queenscliff Sorrento and have since told The News that while no specific checks are being made at Sorrento, random checks are being made of motorists throughout the peninsula.

Mr Oswin said Searoad Ferries had decided it was impractical to use thermal Cameras to check passengers’ temperatures “as most people are ticketed and board the vessel while seated in a vehicle”.

Searoad CEO Matt McDonald said the ferry would keep running to a two-hourly schedule “for those services that need to travel for one of the permitted reasons”.

“This includes travel for emergency services, essential supplies, work, education and medical purposes as outlined in the government guidelines.”

The Department of Health and Human Services website says other vehicles can use the ferry if travelling to Gippsland or Phillip Island, but travellers “should plan your trip so that you don’t need to stop in an impacted area unless it is for one of the three reasons”.


First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 14 July 2020


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