Ruby Princess expected to depart on Sunday as commission of inquiry announced

The Ruby Princess docked at Port Kembla. Photo: Robert Peet
The Ruby Princess docked at Port Kembla. Photo: Robert Peet

The Ruby Princess is expected to depart from Port Kembla this Sunday, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters this morning.

"We are working with Carnival Cruises and Border Force and NSW Health and Aspen (Medical) looking for a hopeful departure date of this Sunday," he said, while announcing another crew member had been taken off the ship overnight suffering from appendicitis.

Responding to media reports that the captain of the ship is in isolation, with suspected COVID-19, Commissioner Fuller said that hadn't been confirmed.

"(As for the ship) they will need fuel, they will need provisions and the required amount of crew members, including the captain," he said.

Should the captain be sick, a new captain would be appointed.

Testing would continue on board and results anaylsed.

There are now a total of 140 crew on board who have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, there are 12 Ruby Princess crew members with COVID-19 in health facilities in NSW.

This is an overall increase of 13 confirmed cases in crew in the past 24 hours.

In NSW, 369 passengers who were on the Ruby Princess have tested positive and there have been 8 deaths associated with the ship. There have been no changes to confirmed COVID-19 passenger numbers in the past 24 hours.

The Ruby Princess, which docked 19 March, is the only affected cruise ship that remains in NSW waters.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian also announced that a special commission of inquiry will be established to investigate the events surrounding the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

She has appointed leading barrister Bret Walker as Commissioner for the inquiry, which will report back to the government in three to four months.

Mr Walker will examine all matters involving the cruise ship, including its departure and arrival in Sydney and the actions of all agencies and parties involved.

Police and the state coroner will continue their respective investigations.

Meantime an additional 16 COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm Tuesday night - taking the state total to 2886.

Of those, 214 are being treated by NSW Health, with 29 in intensive care units - 18 of those on ventilators.

More to come.

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This story Stricken Ruby Princess expected to depart on Sunday first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.