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The first group of passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship has disembarked at Port Kembla near Wollongong, where the ship is currently docked.

NSW Police Force said that 49 crew members from six countries will disembark with the help of the officers from the Marine Area Command and the Transport for NSW, NSW Health and the Australian Defence Force.

Of the 49 crew members, one member has tested positive and will undergo a 14-day quarantine period at an NSW Health-managed hotel.

After the completion of the quarantine and receiving clearance from the NSW Health, the crew member will be transferred to Sydney Airport to return home.

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The 48 crew members will return home and flight arrangements have been made.

Other crew members will also disembark from the ship in the future and NSW Police will inform the media about the arrangements.

However, some of the crew will not disembark and stay on board Ruby Princess to return to the port of origin.

NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller said: “Today’s operation is the culmination of a significant joint effort by a number of agencies and that effort will continue until we have ensured the safety and movement of every crew member, in line with their wishes.

“The health of those on board and protecting the people of NSW always has been and will continue to be our number one priority.

“The movement of the first crew contingent today is an important milestone and has us one step closer to the Ruby Princess leaving Australian waters.”

The NSW Government appointed a special commission of inquiry to investigate the cruise ship, while the police also launched a criminal investigation into the cruise ship.

It has been reported that more than 600 cases in the country are linked to the cruise ship with 21 deaths so far.