Police in Australia launch criminal probe into coronavirus-stricken ship

  • Police in Australia launch criminal probe into coronavirus-stricken ship

Police in Australia launch criminal probe into coronavirus-stricken ship

Passengers were allowed to disembark despite some experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Across the Tasman Sea on Sunday, several Australian states had given their police forces power to enforce hefty on-the-spot fines and potential jail terms.

The ship left Sydney on March 8, the same day the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department warned all Americans to avoid cruise travel, and returned to Sydney on March 19.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller today said "up towards 200" crew are sick, although it is yet to be confirmed if they have the deadly coronavirus. "There's clear evidence now when it stopped in New Zealand Covid-19 has come off that ship, and at least 10 people have died in Australia from Covid-19", Fuller said.

"The worldwide license to enter a port is on the assurance from the captain to the authorities that the vessel is free from contagious disease", said Fuller. He had driven passengers around the region when it called into Napier.

Commissioner Fuller said police were told by operation managers from Carnival that COVID-19 was not an issue on the ship.

He said the homicide squad's Detective Chief Inspector Jason Dickinson would tomorrow be given materials which had been gathered during the past 48 hours. Italy registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths in more than two weeks - 525, said Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency.

This morning the hulking white Ruby Princess and its helpless 1040 crew sailed into Port Kembla, 80 kilometres south of Sydney, with NSW Police hoping to send it on to its home port in Bermuda.

During her daily briefing, Premier Gladys Berejiklian deflected criticism from some reporters about why Health Minister Brad Hazzard was not present to answer questions.

Ruby Princess owner Carnival Australia says the company is assisting the police investigation.

Of the 1,043 crew members who remain on board the ship, Princess Cruises said 35-40 are being observed by the medical staff.

Global Affairs said Sunday that apart from the Coral Princess, it knows of 49 Canadian passengers and eight Canadian crew members on seven ships.

They said there were isolation plans in place and most crew members were in good health.

ABC News Sydney reports hundreds of people are being moved between cruise ships on Sydney Harbour right now.

"As you are aware, between the NSW government and the Australian government we contracted Aspen, an independent medical group, who went on the ship and they delivered a report to both federal and state government", he said.

NSW Police described it as the largest peacetime maritime operation in Sydney's history.