Australia (9news)

New Ruby Princess inquiry launched as outbreak on ship intensifies

By June 28, 2020 No Comments
The NSW Government has launched a special commission of inquiry to investigate the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which remains docked in NSW with 140 crew now infected with coronavirus.
Top Sydney silk Bret Walker SC, who represented Cardinal George Pell in his successful appeal to the High Court, has been appointed commissioner for the inquiry, which will report back to government in three to four months.
READ MORE:US has record jump in coronavirus deaths
NSW Health said there were no identified COVID-19 cases aboard the Ruby Princess when it was allowed to dock in Sydney. But a chain of emails, obtained by 9News, showed the department knew about the risk of coronavirus aboard the cruise, which has become Australia's COVID-19 epicentre.
NSW Health said there were no identified COVID-19 cases aboard the Ruby Princess when it was allowed to dock in Sydney. But a chain of emails, obtained by 9News, showed the department knew about the risk of coronavirus aboard the cruise, which has become Australia’s COVID-19 epicentre.(9News)
Premier Gladys Berejiklian today told reporters the inquiry will ensure no one can accuse her government of “obfuscating information” about how the cruise ship docked in Sydney.
Yesterday the NSW Police commissioner, Mick Fuller, advised that the criminal investigation into the cruise would not be concluded until September, double the initial estimate.
Do you know more? Did you travel on the Ruby Princess? Are you crew?Email msaunoko@nine.com.au
“Given the new time frame … we did not think it was in the public interest to wait that long,” Ms Berejiklian said during her morning briefing.
“We did not want to rush the police investigation.
“[And] I did not want it to look like government was obfuscating information.”
The Ruby Princess is scheduled to leave Port Kembla, south of Sydney, on Sunday.
But that departure could now be complicated as the COVID-19 outbreak on the ship continues to spread among the 1000 crew stuck on board.
NSW Health confirmed 140 crew have tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of 13 overnight.
Twelve crew infected with coronavirus have been transported off the ship and into hospitals.
Comm. Fuller said he could not confirm reports that the ship’s captain was infected and in isolation.
If that that was the case, Comm. Fuller said a new captain and any necessary engineers could be flown in from abroad to sail the ship out of Australian waters.
The US, UK and Canada consulates are in discussions with NSW Police and the cruise company about possible repatriation flights for crew.
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Bret Walker leaves the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne.
Bret Walker leaves the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne.(AAP)
Multiple investigations are underway to examine how the COVID-19 riddled Ruby Princess ship docked in Sydney, spilling 2700 passengers into the city.
Multiple investigations are underway to examine how the COVID-19 riddled Ruby Princess ship docked in Sydney, spilling 2700 passengers into the city.(AP)
NSW Police and the State Coroner will continue their investigations into the cruise.
Ms Berejeklian said the commission of inquiry would have access to all evidence gathered by police, including the Ruby Princess’ black box, the ship’s central communications unit.
The premier said Mr Walker would examine all matters involving the cruise ship, and the actions of all state and federal agencies and parties involved.
Do you know more? Did you travel on the Ruby Princess? Are you crew?Email msaunoko@nine.com.au
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