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More than 3000 Australians on cruise ships

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Members of the crew of the Costa Victoria cruise ship after arriving in the port of Civitavecchia, Italy, 25 March 2020. Italian flagged cruise ship Costa Victoria arrived at the port of Civitavecchia after being denied entry to other ports in Asia and Europe due to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports, there was one coronavirus case onboard and the passengers were required to stay in their rooms as a precaution measure. There are about 250 Australian citizens on board the ship, among others. EPA/ANGELO CARCONI

More than 3000 Australians are marooned on cruise ships across the globe as countries shut their borders to slow the outbreak of coronavirus.

The stranded Australians are scattered across more than 30 vessels in waters off South America, Europe, the United States and further afield.

"We want to make sure that those Australians are able to return. We are working directly with them," Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the Nine Network on Thursday.

There are hundreds of thousands of Australians overseas at any one time.

Thousands of people are now desperately trying to get home but are finding it extremely difficult, with countries like Nepal and South Africa shutting down flights altogether.

There are additional pressures in countries like Peru where public gatherings, free movement and business operations have been heavily constrained.

The Australian government is working with airlines to try and facilitate limited assisted departures where commercial flights are unavailable.

"We are very focused in the most difficult areas of working with partners who can assist us in returning Australians," Senator Payne said.

"They are discussions we are having with international airlines and with travel businesses, in Peru in particular."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has had more than 18,500 requests for assistance from Australians stranded overseas since March 13.

"We are asking our ambassadors, our high commissioners, to use all the tools available to them ... to make sure they are providing the support to Australians that they can," Senator Payne said.

"We, of course, though in all of the countries in which we work are constrained by the regulations and the restrictions that are placed on operations by the host country."

Australians have now been banned from travelling overseas as the government tries to contain the spread of coronavirus.

© AAP 2020