Australian cops board cruise ship blamed for 15 COVID-19 deaths

Elias Hubbard
April 10, 2020

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Thursday said about three-quarters of the Ruby Princess crew members had indicated they wish to remain on board the ship. Police boarded the cruise ship to seize evidence and question crew members after the vessel was linked to hundreds of COVID-19 cases and more than a dozen deaths across Australia.

Australian police have spoken to the captain of a cruise ship which disembarked hundreds of passengers infected with the coronavirus in Sydney, as part of a homicide investigation into the country's deadliest single source of infection.

Officers, wearing protective suits and masks, boarded the vessel in Port Kembla, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Sydney, on Wednesday night, New South Wales Police said.

"Police officers entered the Ruby Princess to gather evidence. ships have a black box very similar to global planes and that and other evidence has been seized", NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told media.

More than 1,000 crewmembers remain onboard the ship, with up to 200 showing symptoms of illness. They spoke to the captain of the ship who was extremely helpful. "They feel safe on the ship and I think that's a good outcome". Carnival Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Police have launched a criminal investigation into operator Carnival Australia over the circumstances that led to thousands of passengers disembarking in mid-March despite some exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

On Thursday, Australia recorded its lowest increase in coronavirus cases in more than three weeks.

Meanwhile, new Covid-19 infections continue to stabilise with NSW recording 48 new cases on Wednesday, taking the state's total to 2734.

Australia has confirmed around 6,000 cases of the virus, accounting for 51 deaths, including those linked to the embattled cruise.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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