Police to Start Criminal Probe into Virus Cruise Ship

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Police in Australia’s New South Wales state will start a criminal investigation into a cruise ship that allowed people on board to disembark in Sydney last month after some passengers had reported flu-like symptoms, Commissioner Mick Fuller said Sunday.

Homicide detectives will be involved in the probe into the circumstances surrounding the docking of the vessel, Fuller said. Ten of the ship’s passengers have died of Covid-19, while hundreds more cases have been linked to the cruise. About 2,700 people were allowed to disembark in Sydney.

The investigation will cover all parties involved in the docking of the ship including Carnival Australia, the operator of the vessel, Fuller said. “From my perspective there are many unanswered questions,” he said.

Carnival has notified the New South Wales premier that it will provide any necessary information, Fuller said.

Carnival Australia has seen the police commissioner’s announcement and will willingly participate in the investigation, a spokesman said in an emailed statement. The company will vigorously respond to any allegations “of which there must now be full disclosure and the basis for them,” the spokesman said.

The criminal investigation was earlier reported by Sky News Australia.

NSW police this weekend led an operation in Sydney Harbour to restock five Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships with food and medical supplies so they could leave local waters, also shifting 1,300 crew members between the ships on tenders. All the vessels have nowdeparted.

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