NEWS
05/04/2020 6:33 PM AEST | Updated 06/04/2020 3:55 PM AEST

Ruby Princess Cruise Ship Docked At Port Kembla As Criminal Investigation Begins

Of the remaining 1,040 crew on board, 200 show symptoms of coronavirus.

See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak.  

This article has been updated as of Monday April 6.

On Monday morning the Ruby Princess cruise ship docked at Port Kembla, south of Sydney to help remove crew who need urgent medical treatment and to refuel the ship to send it away.

It comes after police confirmed a criminal investigation would be launched after nearly a third of Australia’s coronavirus-related deaths have been attributed to the Carnival Corp cruise. 

PETER PARKS via Getty Images
Cruise liner Ruby Princess sits in the harbour in Port Kembla, 80km south of Sydney on April 6, 2020. 

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the remaining 1,040 crew from 50 different countries on board are to stay in isolation for 10 days. Two crew members were taken off for medical help on Sunday, and more would be taken off if necessary for health reasons, he said.

The ABC reports 200 of the crew members still on board show symptoms of coronavirus. 

A Carnival Australia spokesman said on Monday the company would cooperate with the probe.

“In addition to willingly participating in the investigation, Carnival Australia will vigorously respond to any allegations of which there must now be full disclosure and the basis for them,” the spokesman said in emailed comments.

Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images
Wollongong MP Paul Scully speaks to media as the Ruby Princess cruise ship sits docked on April 06, 2020 in Port Kembla, Australia. 

On March 19 the ship was allowed to disembark 2700 passengers in Sydney when many passengers had flu-like symptoms. So far over 600 of those people have tested positive for COVID-19

“There are 10 deaths relating from the Ruby,” Commissioner Fuller said in a press conference on Sunday. “That’s a significant amount of deaths for one incident.”

Since the press conference, another death has been recorded, bringing the Ruby Princess-related Covid-19 death toll to 11. 

State health authorities had classed the ship as low risk as it had sailed from Sydney to New Zealand, and the Australian Border Force issued a notice allowing the passengers to travel home freely. They were required to self-isolate for 14 days.

James D. Morgan via Getty Images
The Ruby Princess cruise ship departs the Overseas Passenger terminal in Circular Quay on March 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

Commissioner Fuller said there were “many unanswered questions” regarding Carnival Australia’s conduct and if the Ruby Cruise operator had downplayed the number of Covid-19 cases on board before passengers disembarked. He said “it’s “too early to tell” if a crime was committed.

“There seems to be absolute discrepancies between the information provided by Carnival and what I would see as 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 told media. 

“The only way I can get to the bottom of whether our national biosecurity laws and our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation.”

With additional reporting by Reuters.