Because of restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme (YEYS) has suspended all voyages until at least October 2020.
FILE PHOTO: STS Young Endeavour off Western Australia. Royal Australian Navy photo.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said while it was disappointing, the health and well-being of those who took part in the program was a priority and this step was being taken to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
“YEYS is an amazing development program, providing those aged 16 to 23 the opportunity to not only learn how to sail a tall ship, but to develop attributes to make them more effective leaders, communicators and team members – and this announcement will no doubt disappoint the young Australians who were due to participate,” Mr Chester said.
“I truly appreciate the hard work that is behind each and every application — it is a very competitive program with its own ballot process — and youth who have had their voyage cancelled, will be offered a priority placement on a future voyage when the suspension is lifted.
“The YEYS team are working on a voyage program for the latter part of 2020, with maintenance continuing to allow STS Young Endeavour to be available to sail when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.”
All affected youth have been contacted, and offered a full refund of voyage fees and travel costs.
There remain no reported cases of coronavirus or close contact among the YEYS staff or recent participants in the program.
The ship’s last voyage ended on 19 March in Sydney, where she remains tied up at Fleet Base East.
The suspension will continue to be reviewed in the coming months, subject to advice from the Australian Defence Force Surgeon General and Department of Health.