5 Apr 2020

NSW Police homicide squad launches investigation into Ruby Princess Covid-19 deaths

6:17 pm on 5 April 2020

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has announced a criminal investigation into the operator of the Ruby Princess cruise ship after the death of 10 passengers from coronavirus.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: The Ruby Princess cruise ship is seen docked at at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, days

The Ruby Princess cruise ship is seen docked at at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney's Circular Quay. Photo: AFP

Ten passengers have died from Covid-19 since the vessel docked in Sydney last month and hundreds more have been confirmed as infected.

The Police Commissioner said information about the matter which had been already received would be handed to the homicide squad tomorrow.

Commissioner Fuller said there were "many unanswered questions" about the ship, operated by Carnival Australia, which docked in Circular Quay in Sydney on March 19.

Passengers were allowed to disembark despite some experiencing flu-like symptoms.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller (R) speaks at a press conference in Sydney on May 24, 2017.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. Photo: AFP

"There is clear evidence that Covid-19 has been brought off that ship. There's clear evidence now when it stopped in New Zealand Covid-19 has come off that ship, and at least 10 people have died in Australia from Covid-19," Fuller said.

"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," Commissioner Fuller said.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

"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."

Commissioner Fuller said on the day before passengers disembarked from the Ruby Princess there was a 17-minute call to triple-0 about two passengers who required medical assistance.

He said an ambulance supervisor was concerned about potential infection on the ship and escalated it to the NSW Police marine area command.

NSW Police said operation managers from Carnival told them Covid-19 was not an issue on the ship.


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