News Coronavirus Ruby Princess cruise ship to remain in Australia for several days as another 19 crew test positive

Ruby Princess cruise ship to remain in Australia for several days as another 19 crew test positive

australia coronavirus toll 63
The woman, who died in Canberra Hospital, had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess. Photo: AAP
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Another 19 crew on board the ill-fated Ruby Princess cruise ship docked at Port Kembla on the NSW south coast have tested positive to COVID-19.

NSW Health said there were 190 crew out of more than 1000 on board who have tested positive for COVID-19. There are also 13 crew members in NSW Health facilities, 12 of them having tested positive for COVID-19.

To date, 21 passengers have died after contracting the coronavirus.

The vessel is expected to remain at Port Kembla until at least the end of the week as NSW police launch one of the biggest criminal investigations into the Ruby Princess.

The 2647 passengers who disembarked the Ruby Princess in Sydney on March 19, as well as the 2995 passengers on the preceding voyage that docked on March 8, will next week receive the survey quizzing them about what they saw and heard during the cruises.

Passengers who arrived home from the second Ruby Princess voyage to New Zealand were permitted to disembark without adequate health checks.

The ship is now connected to 21 coronavirus deaths in Australia and hundreds of cases across the country.

Authorities handling the probe are investigating if criminal negligence took place by operator Princess Cruises or Ruby Princess crew members in the March 19 disembarkation of the ship, as well as any failures of NSW or Commonwealth departments.

Last week, NSW Police Minister David Elliott said police would conduct an investigation “like no other” and would need to work alongside overseas counterparts.

“There’s no rule book when it comes to these sorts of inquiries. It’s very unusual for something this large, across so many jurisdictions, to be put into the lap of one person,” Mr Elliott said.

A special commission of inquiry overseen by barrister Bret Walker SC is running in parallel to the police probe, and a coronial inquest remains a possibility.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said Princess Cruises and parent company Carnival Australia had been providing information to police each day.

He declined to confirm earlier remarks by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who said the ship’s “patient zero” was likely a crew member involved in serving food.