Stuart Allison has released a video sharing what really happened when Ruby Princess disembarked in Sydney, as passengers consider legal action.
The ship disembarked 2,700 passengers in Sydney on 19 March and so far at least 293 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 both in NSW and interstate and one woman has died.
Sydney-based law firm Shine Lawyers confirmed it has received multiple enquiries from Ruby Princess passengers who are concerned about the lack of safety measures enacted on the ship. You can read more about that here.
In a video uploaded to Princess Cruises’ YouTube channel, the company’s senior vice president for the Asia Pacific said he thought it was important to “set the record straight” and reveal the facts.
“Firstly it’s important to know that Ruby Princess fully reported its health status using the official federal and state maritime reporting systems,” he said.
“We take these obligations very seriously and strictly adhere to them. Ruby Princess was considered low-risk for COVID-19 when she returned to Sydney last week.
“Even so, our onboard team had taken no chances. They require guests who reported flu-like symptoms to self-isolate in their cabins. The ship then reported these cases to federal and state authorities as we’re always obliged to do.”
However, Shine Lawyers national practice leader Lisa Flynn said her firm has heard evidence that there was not enough done by the ship to protect passengers.
Passengers told the firm they were not monitored or advised of the risk to themselves and others and were free to disembark the ship and board other means of transport.
“Tests for COVID-19 are not conducted on cruise ships and that’s part of the protocol that applies the world over. Shoreside public health authorities do the testing as part of their surveillance measures,” Allison said.
“As we now know, some of the swabs from Ruby Princess tested positive. This news was as disappointing as it was unexpected.
“Our guests could disembark Ruby Princess because that was the official health clearance process that existed at the time.
“The arrival of our guests that day was no different to other travellers arriving in Australia by air from overseas.”
Allison said passengers on the ship were informed they must self-isolate for the required 14 days.
“We will, of course, comply with new arrangements for ship arrivals in Sydney and other Australian ports,” he said.
“Our fundamental position is that the health and safety of our guests and crew must always come first. I thought it was important to set the record straight.”
You can watch Allison’s full address below: