UK (Sky News)

Coronavirus: Black box seized from Ruby Princess ship at centre of Australia outbreak

By May 15, 2020 No Comments

Australian police have seized a black box data recorder from a ship as part of a homicide investigation into 15 deaths and more than 600 coronavirus cases.

There has been anger after authorities allowed the 2,700 passengers on The Ruby Princess to disembark last month without health checks.

Hundreds later tested positive and 15 died – more than a quarter of the country’s 51 fatalities.

Police wore full protective gear on Wednesday evening as they boarded the ship at Port Kembla, south of Sydney, to collect evidence and interview the captain.

They said it was likely to remain docked for ten more days as the 1,000 or so crew still on board get tested for coronavirus.

The ship is likely to be held at the port for a number of days. Pic: New South Wales Police Force
Image:The ship is likely to be held at the port for another 10 days. Pic: New South Wales Police
The ship is the source of the biggest outbreak in Australia. Pic: New South Wales Police Force
Image:The ship is the source of the biggest outbreak in Australia. Pic: New South Wales Police

Around 200 staff are displaying symptoms, while 18 have already tested positive.

The crew come from around 50 different countries.

A black box data recorder was among evidence seized and is “very similar to that of international planes”, according to New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller.

Mr Fuller said the ship’s captain had been very helpful.

The Ruby Princess is the third cruise liner belonging to Princess Cruises to find itself at the centre of a virus outbreak.

The Diamond Princess docked in Yokohama in Japan for around three weeks in February after cases rose rapidly. Passengers were eventually allowed to leave and travel home under strict conditions.

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The Grand Princess docked in California in March after reporting a handful of cases, with passengers taken off and put into quarantine.

Three people who were on board have since died after testing positive for the coronavirus.

A number of other cruise ship have struggled to find ports to dock in amid fears passengers could disembark and potentially spread the infection.

Cruise liner Ruby Princess sits in the harbour in Port Kembla, 80km south of Sydney after coming in to refuel and restock on April 6, 2020. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:The Ruby Princess is docked near Sydney

On Thursday, Australia saw its lowest rise in COVID-19 cases in three weeks – 96 – the first time there have been fewer than 100 cases in a day since 17 March.

The country has recorded 6000 cases and 51 deaths.

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