Australia’s first all-gay cruise has been marred by a series of drug busts before the boat left the shore after several people were arrested in Sydney in possession of drugs.
The NaviGAYtion Cruise was scheduled to leave Sydney yesterday afternoon to take off to sea for three days. But not without a bit of drama first.
Police and sniffer dogs inspected all passengers before boarding and five people were detected with drugs on them.
A 38 year-old Surry Hills man was found with 20 tablets and charged with supply, while three others – a 26 year-old from Wantirna in Victoria, 35 year-old from Glenmore, Victoria and a 37 year-old from Darlinghurst – were charged with possession of GHB, speed and LSD. A fifth man, 55 years-old, was cautioned for possessing a gram of cannabis.
The cruise was always going to be targeted, after the recent high-profile operations at Azure and Mardi Gras. Sergeant John Cox from the Marine Area Command said the drug dog operation was launched based on “risk assessment and intelligence”.
“Police will continue to conduct similar operations based on information we gather and we will continue to arrest and charge any person in possession of illicit drugs.”
Compulsory sniffer dogs inspecting all passengers were introduced by P&O on all cruises leaving Australia after the death of passenger Dianne Brimble due to a GHB overdose in September 2002.
Despite the shaky start to the three days of cruising, the virtually sold out NaviGAYtion cruise was still able to leave around 6pm last night.