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June 3
1855 - Ship leaves New York harbor bound for Tunis to acquire animals for the United States Camel Corps [story]
Camel Corps


The New South Wales Police Force in Australia has opened a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the docking and disembarking of the cruise ship Ruby Princess in Sydney Harbor last month.

The Ruby Princess is operated by Carnival Australia, part of Carnival Corporation & plc, which also operates Valencia, California-based Princess Cruises.

Almost 2,700 passengers, some reportedly exhibiting flu-like symptoms, freely left the ship after it docked in Sydney on March 19.

NSW Ministry of Health officials tested passengers for COVID-19 and more than 340 tested positive, as did 16 crewmembers.

A team of 30 detectives from State Crime, Counter-Terrorism and Special Tactics and Marine Area Commands has been seconded to Strike Force Bast and will be assisted by intelligence analysts and other specialist officers, according to an NSW Police news release Wednesday.

A news release from authorities in the Australian state follows, issued Sunday as the probe was launched.

After being tasked by the NSW Premier to conduct initial investigations, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller today (Sunday 5 April 2020) announced that a criminal investigation is now underway to fully examine the communications, actions, and other circumstances that led to the docking and disembarking of the vessel at Sydney Harbour on Thursday 19 March 2020.

The investigation is being led by the Homicide Squad’s Detective Chief Inspector Jason Dickinson, who is experienced in complex and protracted investigations, with oversight from the NSW Coroner.

It is expected the investigation will involve interviewing thousands of witnesses, including the Ruby Princess’ captain and doctors, the crew and passengers; and staff from various Commonwealth and NSW Government offices and agencies.

Commissioner Fuller said his initial assessment of the vessel’s pratique left questions about the transparency in conceptualising the health conditions of passengers and crew in relation to COVID-19.

“I’ve examined a number of phone calls between NSW Ambulance, Port Authority of NSW and NSW Police that stemmed from the initial 17-minute Triple Zero call from the ship to NSW Ambulance on 18 March,” the Commissioner said.

“There appears to have been an exceptional amount of effort put in by Ports to determine the true nature of the conditions on board – and even delayed the vessel’s arrival until they were provided additional information.

“After reviewing the information at hand, the only way I can determine whether our national biosecurity laws or our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation.”

The Commissioner added that investigators will examine the actions of everyone involved – whether from the cruise company or government agencies.

“This is a complex issue and we will need information from many witnesses to answer all the questions about how this ship ended up docking last month,” the Commissioner said.

“We are mindful that some of the key information we need will also come from passengers, so I urge those who were on-board to reach out to us – please contact Crime Stoppers as soon as possible.”

Anyone who was on-board the Ruby Princess and has information relevant to the investigation, including details of symptoms, illness, or medical advice during the journey is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Aspen Medical are continuing to assess the health of the crew on board the Ruby Princess and have developed a plan in conjunction with NSW Health, the NSW Police Force’s Marine Area Command, and Australian Border Force to manage their welfare until they can depart Australian waters.

Police have been advised that up to 200 of the 1040 crew members currently on board the vessel are displaying symptoms, while 16 crew members are confirmed to have returned positive results for COVID-19.

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