What happened on board the “Ruby Princess”? It will be up to the Australian police to determine this. The latter opened a criminal investigation on Sunday after the authorized landing in mid-March of thousands of passengers of a cruise ship, including coronavirus patients, ten of whom died.
The government had authorized the landing in Sydney of the 2,700 passengers on the liner operated by Carnival Australia, despite a measure taken a few days earlier which prohibited cruise ships from docking in Australia. These cruise passengers then returned to their homes spread across Australia.
New South Wales Chief of Police Mick Fuller said on Sunday that the operator, a subsidiary of the American cruise giant Carnival, will be investigated due to “total differences” between the information provided to the authorities and the provisions provided by law.
Lack of transparency?
“The essential question which remains unanswered, and for which a criminal and forensic investigation must be carried out, is whether the Carnival crew showed transparency” concerning “the state of health of the patients and of the crew compared to the Covid-19, “he explained.
“The international permit issued to enter a port is based on the assurance given by the captain to the authorities that the vessel is free from contagious disease,” said the police official.
However, some passengers on the ship were showing flu-like symptoms when it docked in Sydney Harbor. Hundreds of cruise lines were then tested positive for the new coronavirus and, to date, ten of them have died from Covid-19, including three overnight in New South Wales.
Cruises, a major source of contamination
Mick Fuller says an investigation is “the only way” to determine whether national and state biosafety laws have been broken.
Cruise ships currently represent nearly 10% of the more than 5,500 cases of Covid-19 contamination identified in Australia and the question is very sensitive in the country. The head of a state called in particular the French Navy to intercept a boat on which were German tourists.
The “Ruby Princess”, which remains anchored off Sydney with about 200 crew members on board exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, continues to be the subject of controversy.
Mick Fuller said the police want to examine the ship’s records and that Carnival Australia has agreed to cooperate in the investigation. Asked to comment on the information, the company did not respond on Sunday afternoon.