The Ruby Princess will be berthing at the port of Port Kembla, near Wollongong on the same day a criminal investigation is set to begin into the ill-f
The Ruby Princess will be berthing at the port of Port Kembla, near Wollongong on the same day a criminal investigation is set to begin into the ill-fated cruise ship.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the investigation on Sunday involving cruise line operator Carnival Australia.
The investigation – led by the NSW police homicide squad – aims to identity how passengers were allowed to disembark the Ruby Princess in Sydney, resulting in several deaths and COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the country.
‘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,’ NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on Sunday.
Mr Fuller told reporters transparency regarding patient health on board the cruise ship was a key question for the investigation.
‘From my perspective there are many unanswered questions,’ he said.
‘There seems to be absolute discrepancies between the information provided by Carnival and what I would see is the benchmark for the laws of the federal and state government.’
He said there was clear evidence COVID-19 had come off the Ruby Princess and at least 11 passengers had died in Australia because of it.
The investigation will cover the actions of the port authority, ambulance, police, the NSW Health department and Carnival Australia.
Carnival Australia responded to Mr Fuller’s announcement on Sunday, offering full cooperation with the investigation.
‘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,’ a statement read on Sunday.
NSW police confirmed the Ruby Princess will arrive at Port Kembla on Monday ‘to allow for safer access for medical assessments, treatment, or emergency extractions of her crew.’
A NSW police spokeswoman said on Sunday the vessel is likely to remain docked for up to 10 days, but no crew will be disembarked unless in an emergency and approved by Mr Fuller.
‘The berthing will be conducted under strict health and biosecurity guidelines and will not pose a risk to employees at the port or the broader community,’ the spokeswoman said in a statement.
‘She will also be refuelling and restocking provisions, as required for her home journey.’
Health Minister Brad Hazzard is standing behind his staff who had allowed the Ruby Princess cruise ship to disembark in Sydney on March 19, despite knowing the results would be available within hours.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday said Mr Fuller would lead an investigation into the fiasco.
NSW Labor has called for Mr Hazzard to resign over the scandal, with the opposition labelling it ‘one of the greatest health disasters’ in NSW history.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Dickinson of the NSW Homicide Squad will lead the investigation from Monday and the coroner will be notified.