Ruby Princess is expected to leave Australian shores on Thursday, as authorities work to ensure the safe return of crew members.
Carnival Australia has also confirmed that all passengers on the cruise, which disembarked in Sydney on 19, March will receive a full refund of their cruise fare paid.
NSW Police confirmed they led a multi-agency operation to begin repatriating crew members on Tuesday alongside Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police, NSW Health, Aspen Medical, Carnival Cruises, and government officials from overseas to ensure their safe return.
At least 49 crew members from six countries disembarked from the ship on Tuesday, one of whom has tested positive for COVID-19.
The sick crew member will be taken to a NSW Health-managed hotel for a 14-day quarantine period before flying home, while the remaining 48 await their repatriation flights.
More crew members will be disembarked in the coming days; however, a significant number will stay onboard to help return the ship to its port of origin.
“Today’s operation is the culmination of a significant joint effort by a number of agencies, and that effort will continue until we have ensured the safety and movement of every crew member, in line with their wishes,” Commissioner Fuller said on Tuesday.
“The health of those on board and protecting the people of NSW always has been – and will continue to be – our number one priority.
“The movement of the first crew contingent today is an important milestone, and has us one step closer to the Ruby Princess leaving Australian waters.”
Travel Weekly understands Ruby Princess is expected to leave Port Kembla and begin returning to its port of origin in the Philippines on Thursday.
Police also confirmed investigations under Strike Force Bast surrounding the docking and disembarking of the Ruby Princess at Sydney Harbour on Thursday 19 March 2020 are continuing.
Featured image credit: iStock.com/Evgenii Mitroshin