Ruby Princess Departs Australia
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has confirmed that the Ruby Princess has departed Port Kembla, NSW, Australia, and is tracking to leave Australian waters.
Around 350 crew members have been taken to Sydney for flights to the Philippines. Eleven who tested positive have been taken to hotels for 14 days of quarantine. Over 500 more have already been repatriated to their home countries in Europe and the Americas.
The NSW Homicide Squad is currently investigating 21 deaths and hundreds of COVID-19 cases, about a tenth of all Australian cases, connected to the vessel which was allowed to dock and disembark passengers in Sydney on March 19. The vessel was subsequently moved to Port Kembla, south of Sydney.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller launched the criminal investigation, and the team recently boarded the ship to seize VDR data and other potential evidence. Police have asked for public tips and have taken the unusual step of sending a survey to all passengers from the ship's two previous voyages seeking information.
The incident will also be the subject of a special commission of inquiry, as well as the criminal investigation. The inquiry is expected to report back to the NSW Premier in three to four months.
In recent weeks, the ABF has worked to remove 27 international cruise ships with more than 14,500 crew safely from Australian waters. The current ban on all international cruise vessels from docking in Australia is in force until June 15, 2020.