Covid-19: Australia starts criminal inquiry into Ruby Princess

6 April 2020 (Last Updated April 6th, 2020 12:07)

NSW Police Commissioner Mike Fuller said that it will launch a criminal investigation into the Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess cruise ship.

Covid-19: Australia starts criminal inquiry into Ruby Princess
Ruby Princess is owned and operated by Carnival Corporation’s Princess Cruises. Credit: Ivan T.

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NSW Police Commissioner Mike Fuller said that it will launch a criminal investigation into the Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The death toll associated with the cruise ship has increased to 11, which accounts for 30% of the country’s death toll. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 662, which is approximately 10% of the total cases in the country.

On 19 March, the cruise ship docked in Sydney where the 2,700 passengers disembarked even though some of them exhibited symptoms of respiratory illness.

Some of the passengers who had Covid-19 symptoms were also transferred to the hospital.

Fuller said: “There seem to be absolute discrepancies between the information provided by Carnival and what I would see is the benchmark for the laws that the federal government and the state government put in place in terms of protecting Australians from cruise ships when coronavirus had started.”

He said that criminal negligence charges could be levied in the future.

The 1,400 crew members are still on the cruise ship docked at Port Kembla near Wollongong. Approximately 200 of them are reported to exhibit symptoms of Covid-19.

Medical officers are currently onboard and are carrying out testing for the crew members. The crew has not received permission to disembark except in cases of emergency.

Princess Cruises said that the Coral Princess cruise ship passenger disembarkation began on 4 April.

The ship was carrying at least 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and reported three deaths.

Princess Cruises’ two other ships, Diamond Princess and Grand Princess in California, also reported an increase in the confirmed cases onboard and after disembarkation.