Ruby Princess docks for 10 days in South Coast port

The Ruby Princess cruise ship has docked at Port Kembla, near Wollongong, where it will restock and all on board will endure a 10-day isolation period.

It is understood there are 1040 crew on board, 200 with COVID-19 symptoms.

On Sunday, Commissioner Fuller announced a criminal investigation would take place involving cruise line operator Carnival Australia after 11 people have died linked to COVID-19 contracted on the ship.

NSW MP Ryan Park, the State Member for Keira who doubles as Labor's health spokesman, has slammed the NSW government for the decision to "dump" its problems on the Illawarra.

"It is unbelievable that in the cover of darkness the vessel that has been the epicentre of coronavirus in NSW sails into the harbour," he said.

"Everyone wants to see the crew on board this ship get the medical attention they need and deserve, but the majority of health and hospital resources are located just a few kilometres from Sydney Harbour.

A cruise website shows the Ruby Princess sitting off the Wollongong coast on Monda morning. Picture: Cruisemapper

A cruise website shows the Ruby Princess sitting off the Wollongong coast on Monda morning. Picture: Cruisemapper

"It beggars belief that a government has made a decision to move this ship down to the Illawarra when they have a large number of ICU beds and hospital resources located within close proximity of Sydney Harbour.

"I am extremely concerned that an influx of sick crew members needing to access hospital will put an enormous strain on Wollongong Hospital and its intensive care capacity.

"This government has simply tried to dump its problems on to the people of the Illawarra when we already have a hospital system under strain and a limited availability of resources."

NSW Ports said in a statement it had received a direction from NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Sunday to assist the government with its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"NSW Ports has been directed to provide berth and port facilities for the Carnival Cruise vessel, the Ruby Princess, for a period of 10 days," the statement read.

Aspen Medical will continue to treat the 200 crew with COVID19 symptoms.

NSW Health and the police will work with Carnival Cruises to repatriate the crew to their 50 home countries after the 10-day period is up.

NSW Ports said the Ruby Princess currently had only crew on board.

"The Ruby Princess will berth at Port Kembla's Berth 104 to facilitate medical treatment of the crew and the safe transfer of crew members who may require hospitalisation," the statement said.

"Crew will not disembark unless permitted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order 2020 issued by the Minister for Health and Medical Research under the Public Health Act 2010.

" All activities at berth and the transfer of unwell crew members to hospital will be overseen by NSW Police and NSW Health."

The 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.NSW police confirmed the Ruby Princess will arrive at Port Kembla on Monday "to allow for safer access for medical assessments, treatment, or emergency extractions of her crew."

A NSW police spokeswoman said on Sunday the vessel is likely to remain docked for up to 10 days, but no crew will be disembarked unless in an emergency and approved by Mr Fuller.

- with Australian Associated Press

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This story Ruby Princess docks for 10 days in South Coast NSW port first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.