Luxury Cruise Ship Was Making Star Shapes Off WA Coast For 'Fun'
The mystery of the luxury cruise ship which was spotted making star-shaped patterns off the coast of WA has finally been solved.
The World cruise ship, claimed to be the "largest, privately-owned residential yacht on earth", was due to spend two months circumnavigating Australia between February and March.
In August 2019, The World promised "extended visits" to more than 15 ports across the country.
But like other cruise ships across the globe, The World's travel itinerary has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic -- with its future trips postponed until July.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for the WA government confirmed the ship had docked at Fremantle four weeks prior and had remained there until last week.
Bizarrely, shortly after leaving Fremantle The World was tracked making 'star-shape' formations off WA waters for quite some time.
It was unclear why the ship was becoming the star of the sea and WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was "out of the state's control".
"The World left Fremantle maybe four or five days ago," McGowan told reporters last Thursday.
"She's currently off Geraldton doing laps. We don't really know why she's doing that, but that's what she's doing ... and in open waters, so it's outside our control."
But the public became more curious about why The World was making star shapes.
Nearly a week later, a spokesperson for the cruise ship has explained why ... the Captain wanted to have some fun.
The World spokesperson said the ship was simply undertaking a training exercise to give the crew on board some extra experience.
"During The World’s lay-up off the coast of Western Australia the ship was spotted having made a five-point, star-shaped pattern with its navigation," the spokesperson said.
"Keen to use the time wisely, its Captain set the course to give his team on the bridge extra navigational practice.
"It is also a recognised holding pattern that covers maximum distance in the smallest possible sea area. The lay-up provided an extra training experience for the ship’s crew and added an element of fun."
The spokesperson also confirmed the ship has been operating with only minimal staff on board for a number of weeks.
A statement from The World said the ship had been "taken out of service" effective March 17 until July, due to ongoing safety concerns.
While the ship has not had a single positive test on board, all residents, guests and non-essential crew had disembarked from the ship by March 20.
According to the spokesperson, The World is privately owned and home to approximately 150 families from 19 countries.
It has an average resident and guest occupancy of 150 to 200 people.
Sailing under the flag of the Bahamas, the ship boasts studios, three-bedroom apartments and a "palatial six-bedroom penthouse suite".
Cruise ships have been a prickly issue in Australia's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but cruise liners attempting to stop at ports in West Australia have repeatedly been told they are "not welcome" and ordered away.
"We essentially have a strong message to all of the cruise ships," McGowan said last week.
"They should keep on going. That's the Commonwealth message, we are as one with the Commonwealth."
"There is no requirement from them to come into Fremantle or Western Australia and frankly they are not wanted."
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