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NSW Police boarding the Ruby Princess
NSW Police boarding the Ruby Princess

New claims as police launch Strike Force Blast and board Ruby Princess

A claim that 140 passengers were in self isolation when the Ruby Princess was approaching Sydney Harbour has been made by Nine newspapers.

Over night, a number of police boarded the Ruby Princess to start investigations. Photos have emerged of the detectives in protective gear walking the gangplank.

The Daily Telegraph reported this morning that detectives seized evidence and questioned crew members about the docking and disembarking.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed that some of the items seized include the Ruby Princess’ black box.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian Border Force officer said she had concerns about passengers disembarking, as she said she had been made aware that 140 passengers onboard were in self isolation.

The paper claims a source said that the harbour master was told by the Border Force officer that she needed to check with her supervisor, and 15 minutes later she called back and said the ship could dock.

The paper claims its source is someone with knowledge of official inquiries, and the Herald’s reporters were told this will be a crucial element to the NSW Police investigation.

There are currently 650 passengers with COVID-19 and 15 passengers have died from the virus who were on board the Ruby Princess.

Carnival Australia declined to comment on the claims in the Herald article.

The NSW Police today launched the investigation into the docking and disembarking of  passengers. Among those taking part are officers from the counter terrorism and special tactics squad.

“A team of 30 detectives from across State Crime, Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics and Marine Area Commands have been seconded to Strike Force Bast, who will be assisted by intelligence analysts and other specialist officers,” said a statement.

“The first investigations briefing was conducted this morning (Wednesday 8 April 2020), and taskings have since commenced.”

Earlier this week, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the commencement of a criminal investigation into the communications, actions, and other circumstances that led to the Ruby Princess disembarking.