NSW Police to launch criminal investigation into coronavirus spread from Ruby Princess

The Ruby Princess has berthed in Wollongong, the same day a criminal investigation is set to begin into the ill-fated cruise ship.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the investigation yesterday. It will include cruise line operator Carnival Australia.

Speaking on Today this morning, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said “heads have to roll” over the deadly fiasco.

“The Australian people will want answers to this. Heads have got to roll,” she said.

“People in parliament, I see it all the time. They’re absolutely useless. They shouldn’t be in parliament … They’ve only got there because they’re ‘yes’ people, they can’t think for themselves.

“They have no knowledge, no experience, absolutely nothing, and this is why you need tough leaders. That’s why I’m saying with Scott Morrison. I don’t always agree with him, but at least he’s prepared to make tough decisions and that’s what you need when you have a crisis.”

Senator Hanson didn’t mince words when she spoke about NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, saying responsibility for the Ruby Princess stuff-up must fall on him and Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“I’ve heard from people that consider him weak and useless,” she said of Mr Hazzard.

“But I’m sorry, heads have to roll over this.

“And Gladys Berejiklian, she should actually have been directing. She is the leader of the state … Everyone knew there was coronavirus on that ship. Nothing was done about it, so someone has to take responsibility for this.”

The Ruby Princess crew are transferred. Picture: 7 News

In a press conference this morning, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said making sure everyone on the Ruby Princess was OK was “essential”.

“Obviously the health and wellbeing of the crew members is essential,” Mr Fuller said.

Two crew members, in need of medical assistance, were taken off the ship yesterday.

Mr Fuller said the ship needed to dock at Port Kembla, in Wollongong, for a number of reasons.

“Taking sick crew and passengers off at sea is a complex and dangerous task,” he said.

“So the ship will be docked ... we have used Port Kembla extensively over the course of this operation to refuel and resupply ships. So thank you to the Port Kembla dock and we will continue to make sure there's the highest level of security for the locals down in southern New South Wales.”

The Ruby Princess investigation – led by the NSW Police Homicide Squad – aims to identity how passengers were allowed to disembark the Ruby Princess in Sydney, resulting in several deaths and COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the country.

“The only way I can get to the bottom of whether our national biosecurity laws and our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation,” Mr Fuller said yesterday.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller speaks to the media. Picture: Brendon Thorne

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller speaks to the media. Picture: Brendon ThorneSource:AAP

Mr Fuller told reporters transparency regarding patient health on-board the cruise ship was a key question for the investigation.

“From my perspective there are many unanswered questions,” he said.

“There seems to be absolute discrepancies between the information provided by Carnival and what I would see is the benchmark for the laws of the federal and state government.”

He said there was clear evidence COVID-19 had come off the Ruby Princess and at least 11 passengers had died in Australia because of it.

The investigation will cover the actions of the port authority, ambulance, police, the NSW Health department and Carnival Australia.

Carnival Australia responded to Mr Fuller’s announcement yesterday, offering full co-operation with the investigation.


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